Oscar Lengden is in a familiar position at the top of the leaderboard at the Stone Irish Challenge as he and Emilio Cuartero Blanco will take a share of the lead into the final round.
The Swede carded his third consecutive sub-70 round on the difficult Headfort New layout to stand on 11 under par with only 18 holes to go.
“My goal this tournament is to get four rounds below 70, so if I can do that, then I’ve put myself in a good spot and I’ll be happy for this week,” he said.
The 27-year-old continues his love affair with golf in Ireland after he finished second at the Irish Challenge in his last appearance in the event in 2017.
“Apparently my mind and my game really like Ireland because I always play well here,” he said. “Tomorrow is going to be an experience to put in the book, but I’m glad to take on that challenge.”
With the Road to Mallorca reaching the business end of the year, the rise to the top of the leaderboard is not out of the ordinary for the two-time Challenge Tour winner. Each of the last two seasons, Lengden has made late moves up the Rankings.
In 2017, he won the Bridgestone Challenge and then backed it up the next week with that second place finish in the Irish Challenge, while last year, he posted a clutch tied-seventh performance in the penultimate event of the year.
“It’s funny, I don’t have any answer to that at all but somehow it always works out I play well at the end of the season,” he said.
Both campaigns ended with Lengden narrowly missing out on his European Tour card as he finished 23rd on the Rankings, but without a win this year, his late-season push has been vital to him securing his Challenge Tour playing rights for 2020.
“Honestly I’m just happy to be in this position. A couple weeks ago I wasn’t really sure if I was going to finish inside the top 70 and keep my Challenge Tour card so everything is a bonus. I have no pressure really, and as long as I play like I did today I’ll be fine.”
Cuartero Blanco is also happy to find himself playing well at this time of the season. The Spainard came into the event 100th on the Road to Mallorca, but has looked in control all week as he has held either the outright lead or a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds.
A win tomorrow would put him into the limited-field Hainan Open, which would give him an opportunity to continue the push for a European Tour card with only three events remaining.
The big mover on day three was Englishman Todd Clements, who matched the low round of the week by carding a five under par 67 to move into third place on ten under par, just one shot behind the leaders.
The battle for the Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the low-Irishman at the Stone Irish Challenge has turned into a two horse race with Cormac Sharvin currently leading the way in a tie for fifth on eight under par and Gavin Moynihan two shots back on six under par in a tie for tenth.
The final round of the Stone Irish Challenge will begin tomorrow at 8:30 am local time, with the final group of Lengden, Cuartero Blanco and Clements set to go at 10:20 am.