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Besseling in front at Leopard Creek
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Besseling in front at Leopard Creek

Wil Besseling reached the turn with a two shot lead as the Dutchman chased a maiden European Tour title at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Wil Besseling

With overnight leader Pablo Larrazábal suffering from blisters and experiencing swing problems as a result, Besseling’s one over par front nine was enough for him to move clear on seven under for the week.

Larrazábal, three clear overnight, turned in 41 and as a result found himself in a four-way tie for second alongside home favourites Branden Grace and Zander Lobard and Sweden’s Joel Sjöholm.

The Spaniard missed the green with his approach to the first and failed to get up and down, then missed out at a birdie at the long second after finding sand with his approach. 

Another bogey came at the third after the four-time European winner hit a wild drive down the right.

Larrazábal failed to reach the green with a chip from a bunker at the short fifth as he dropped another shot as Besseling found himself in a share of the lead after five consecutive pars.

There was some relief for the 36-year-old as he made an up-and-down from the sand at the driveable sixth for birdie, but Besseling converted form six feet on the same hole to keep the pair locked together.

A bogey was enough to give Besseling the outright lead at the seventh. The 33-year-old failed to get down in two from in front of the green, but Larrazábal found water for the third day running and double bogeyed.

Besseling went from sand to thick bushes down the left of the eighth and bogeyed – but remarkably still led as Larrazábal missed a par effort from seven feet.

Larrazábal duck-hooked his tee shot so far left at the ninth that he cleared the stream that runs alongside the fairway. His second only avoided water because it hit an advertising board but despite that slice of fortune, he could only make a bogey bogeyed. 

Sjöholm was the only player in the top five under par for his round, having birdied the second and sixth before handing a shot back at the difficult ninth.