Dylan Frittelli will lead the European Tour challenge as he goes in to the final round of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open just a single shot behind the leaders.
His fellow South African Louis de Jager caught Arjun Atwal at the summit after the Indian bogied the final hole at Heritage Golf Club, with the co-leaders sitting at 13 under par at the end of day three.
44 year old Atwal, who will captain his continent at next year’s EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM, had led from the start of the tournament after opening with a sparkling 62 to set a new course record.
A second round 70 saw the three-time European Tour winner’s lead trimmed to one, and it looked like he would retain that advantage until he three-putted the 18th for bogey to drop back alongside de Jager, who carded four birdies in a bogey-free round of 67.
Frittelli opened with a bogey and dropped another shot on the eighth hole, but five birdies – including a gain on the last – was enough to take him to 12 under par and remain within touching distance of the leaders, alongside Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines.
Romain Langasque of France, South African Justin Walters and Portugal’s José-Filipe Lima are two further back at ten under par, while Ricardo Gouveia, also of Portugal, is at nine under par going in to the final day of the tournament that is tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour.
Louis de Jager: “I felt really composed. I was quite cool and calm out there. I didn’t hit the ball as well as the first two days but my short game really saved me today, and my putter really saved me inside the eight-foot range. I made a few crucial putts that really kept me in the tournament.
“It’s always a goal to keep bogeys off the card. You know you can hit good shots and still make bogey, so when there are none on the card, it’s really pleasing.
“It’s going to be my first time in the final group in a co-sanctioned tournament. I’m going to cherish the moment. I’m looking forward to it and I’m going to go out there and give it my all.”
Arjun Atwal: “I’m really looking forward to Sunday. With the way I’m playing, I think I have a good shot at it. I played solid all day except for a blip on the last hole which won’t bother me. It did play harder today. It was definitely blowing harder out of the three days.
“The driving was difficult because we had crosswinds on most holes but I drove it on most days pretty good. 18 was the only missed drive but other than that I drove it pretty much where I was looking and I’m very pleased with that.
“The officials got it right with the green speeds. If it was any faster, the ball would move especially in the gusty conditions.”
Dylan Frittelli: “Through the front nine I had a goal of two under and I beat that by one, but it could have been a whole lot better. I played well today I just couldn’t get the putts to go in. I’ll do a bit of practice now and hopefully go lower tomorrow.
“I probably had eight or ten putts where I read the putts perfectly then had to adjust for the wind. I though the wind was going to hit it and most of the time it didn’t, so it was a bit tricky there. I still gave myself opportunities. I think tomorrow I’ll try to hit it a bit closer and make it easier for the putter.
“I’m really excited, I didn’t think I would be one shot back at the end of the day. I struggled through most of the round. I’ll sleep well tonight and won’t be in the final group tomorrow, so that will help. Hopefully I’ll post a nice low number and watch the guys come in.”
Romain Langasque: “I started really good and made some good putts on the back nine. I’m in a good position. Overall the day was consistent. Today was one of my best games I’ve ever played because I feel very confident. I feel I can chip very good and make some putts.
“I made three bogeys in five holes on the back nine but I birdied 16 and 18. I parred 17 which is a tough hole so I’m very happy to finish like that.
“Sometimes the wind is strong for 10 seconds then it becomes normal. Sometimes you have to take care of that because your ball can fly 10 metres more than usual. But it is the same for everybody and I want to do my best.”