Nicolai von Dellingshausen and Marc Warren head a packed Austrian Open leaderboard after battling thumping rain on day three at Diamond Country Club.
A far-cry from yesterday’s blistering heat, reaching highs of 35 degrees, persistent rain fell in Atzenbrugg during the day. Von Dellingshausen and Warren lead by one stroke on 11 under par, with six golfers within two strokes ahead of tomorrow’s final round.
Von Dellingshausen set the clubhouse target after a two under par round of 70, which included three birdies in his first four holes. The German dropped shots on the eighth and 14th holes, but recovered with his fourth birdie of the day on the 15th to reach 11 under par.
“I was a little bit surprised,” said Von Dellingshausen. “I find it difficult to play in the rain, probably more so than others do, but I had a really good start to the round. Hit some consistent, solid shots and holed some putts, so it went fairly fast. It was difficult out there and I knew there would be some trouble during the round, but I was solid.
“It was playing completely different to the days before. No roll basically, long irons into the greens where we had been hitting wedges in, so considering the rain today I was quite happy when I was somewhere close to the hole and could make those putts.
“I missed it personally. I think with the break we all had from tournament golf, I made a step in the right direction being off the golf course and having time to reflect, to really have fun going out there and just playing again. I think that is the case up here now, I am really happy to be here doing my job again.”
Warren made the turn one under par after three birdies and two bogeys on the front nine and matched von Dellingshausen’s birdie on the 15th to join him in a share of the lead.
Scotsman Warren will go in search of a fourth European Tour victory, and his first since 2014 Made in Denmark, while von Dellingshausen, of Germany, is bidding for a maiden title.
“Probably as wet coming off today as I was yesterday, but with water today instead of sweat,” said Warren. “It was incredibly different conditions, teeing off it was the heaviest rain we’d had all day. It was a grind from the start, so it was good to get round in under par.
“We were thinking if it carried on like that we wouldn’t be out there much longer, but the golf course held up incredibly well. I didn’t see one bit of water on the greens. From that standpoint we were in no danger of coming off. Around the turn, it was apparent it was going to be a day where you just had to be there and keep your name on the leaderboard.
“I was just playing for pars, playing sensible golf and waited for the birdies instead of trying to go and get them. A couple of good short irons set up two good chances on three and four. It was nice to get a couple of birdies early on.
“As the day goes on everything gets wetter and wetter, it’s tough to keep the clubs dry. You’re trying to do all that and concentrate on hitting the shot as well. It was a long day. It was a good birdie on 15, I was pleased to be one under on the last four or five.
“I know what to expect. Some guys haven’t won before, they might not know what to expect. I’m pretty comfortable with the situation I’m in. Hopefully a good front nine tomorrow and I’ll be in with a chance to win.”
In a share of third place on ten under par are Spain’s Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, Scotsman Connor Syme and Darius van Driel of Holland.
Syme celebrated his 25th birthday in some style, recording the only bogey-free round of the day – a three under par 69. Making his 26th European Tour start this week, Syme’s best result to date came on this golf course in 2018 when he finished runner-up to Mikko Korhonen at the Shot Clock Masters.
“It was a brilliant birthday for sure,” said Syme. “When we were going down the first, I don’t think we were too optimistic about finishing the round to be honest it was so wet, but it did definitely die down a little bit. It was persistent rain all day, so very delighted with my score.
“I started off really well. I wasn’t really out of position for seven holes, then got in a bit of trouble at the eighth, but played an unbelievable shot – a five wood sliced around the trees – after hitting it in the water and rolled it in for par, so that kept things going and then birdied the ninth which was a playing hard today.
“The whole goal was to minimise my mess. Pick the right shot, make sure I was doing the right thing and look after what I can control.”
2013 Austrian Open champion Joost Luiten of Holland, Germany’s Marcel Schneider and Joël Stalter of France share sixth place on nine under par.