Sam Horsfield will go in search of a maiden European Tour title as he takes a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Hero Open, following a roller-coaster third round 71 at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club.
The Englishman started the day in a share of the lead with Spaniard Sebastián García Rodríguez, but had moved six shots clear at the turn courtesy of five birdies on the front nine.
The 23-year-old faltered on the way home, however, starting the back nine with a bogey at the tenth and carding his first double-bogey of the week at the 12th – a four over back nine 40 leaving him a single stroke clear of the chasing pack on 14 under.
Horsfield – who first earned his European Tour card with an eight-stroke victory at Qualifying School in 2017 – is seeking to become the first home player to win this event, formerly known as the English Open, since Lee Westwood in 1998.
Three players share second place, with Denmark’s Rasmus Højgaard – aiming for a second European Tour victory on the 2020 Race to Dubai – Welshman Oliver Farr and Finland’s Mikko Korhonen all on 13 under par.
Sam Horsfield: “I got off to a good start and then 10, I don’t know what happened there, then I hit a bad drive down 12 and my timing got a little off, I got a little quick and it got stuck behind me. I felt it on a few shots, but I’m still in a good position for tomorrow.
“The double-bogey was just a bad drive and I treid to hit a lot of greens and I just didn’t quite have it on the back nine with my swing. I hit a lot of poor long iron shots on 15 and 17, the one on 17 was horrendous. So I’m going to go to the range and work that out right now.
“My caddie just said to me coming off the 18th green, if someone said to you on Thursday, ‘you’ll have a one-shot lead going into Sunday’ you’d take it. I have made a little bit harder for myself from the position I was in but I’m still looking forward to tomorrow and it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Rasmus Højgaard: “I’ve been pretty good from the tee box this week. There’s a few tricky tee shots out there, nine and a few others, where you have to be quite straight. I’ve managed to put it in play almost every time.
“It always gives you confidence when you’re playing well. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing right now. Playing well, shooting good scores, if I’m in position tomorrow hopefully I can shoot a low score.
“The conditions were easier today, there hasn’t been that much wind out there. It was easier to control the flight of the ball, you can see that with the scores, there’s some quite low scores out there and people are making a lot of birdies.
“It’s been okay (in the bubble). It’s good to be back playing golf. I don’t really mind. It can be a little lonely some times.”
Oliver Farr: “It’s a nice position to be in, going into a Sunday. I played really nicely today, I’m more pleased about that to be honest.
“It’s a course that can catch you out if you don’t hit great shots, especially the par fives with water around them – which I experienced yesterday. Today it was nice to be in control of my golf ball, a few more putts would have been nice but I’ll take a bogey free round.
“I try and treat it as another tournament. I played a lot on the Challenge Tour and have been in contention out there. It’s a bit of a step up being on the European Tour, but I’ll try and treat it as another tournament and a position I’ve been in before.
“It’s a little bit different with no crowds, but me and my caddie are getting on great this week. Hopefully we can do a bit of work this afternoon and get ready for tomorrow.”
Mikko Korhonen: “I’ve been good off the tee, most of the time and I’ve been putting well. Making a lot of six-footers and pars. It’s a nice golf course. Good greens, nice off the tee. Everything is beautiful. I think I just need to hole a few putts and stay on the fairways, that’s pretty much it.”