Spain’s Adrián Otaegui leads the 2022 Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters by six shots after posting a third-round 64.
Otaegui carded eight birdies and one bogey on Saturday to head into the final round on 16 under par, with countryman Ángel Hidalgo and Swede Joakim Lagergren his nearest challengers on ten under.
Home hope Hidalgo came into the week 130th on the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex but has put himself in a brilliant position to climb up the charts.
The 24 year old delighted the bumper crowds at Real Club Valderrama with a tremendous closing birdie to sign for a 70 which contained four birdies and three bogeys.
Lagergren, meanwhile, made an eagle, five birdies – including four in a row from the 11th – and three bogeys in his 67.
Australia’s Min Woo Lee was another shot back in fourth, two ahead of fifth-placed Robert MacIntyre of Scotland.
Adrián Otaegui: I’m very happy, everything went perfectly today. I putted well, I felt very comfortable. The crowds were pushing amazingly, so that was unbelievable.
I had a very good start with a nice birdie on the second and then three birdies in a row at four, five, six and that gave me a bit of momentum. I felt good on the course, tried to enjoy it, tried to stay focused. I missed a couple of birdie putts at the beginning of the front nine but finished with three good birdies.
I’ve been trying to just play Valderrama. Be on the fairway, be on the green on the good side, and the ball was going where I wanted it to go. There are not many different ways to play Valderrama, other courses you can play holes a lot of different ways and still make a birdie. At Valderrama you need to play the good sides, so that was the key.
Ángel Hidalgo: It was an amazing round. A lot of pressure on the first shot, the most pressure I have ever had, but I’m really happy. I’m happy with the score, with the feelings, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
The other players have pressure to win the tournament, but I have more pressure because I’m fighting for the card for next year.
I’m close to my home town, I have spectators following me, so that gave me a lot of confidence. A big push for tomorrow.
(The mindset for tomorrow is) try to beat the course. The key is don’t try to beat him, if it’s another day like today there is no chance because Adrian was so good. I will try to beat the course and see what happens.
Joakim Lagergren: That was some proper golf today. Scrambling around like I was today… I was all over the place, I’ve seen every bit of Valderrama. My scrambling was good, but I need to be better off the tee.
I didn’t play very good on eight, nine, ten, so I was just trying to have some good swings, some good shots. I eventually found a fairway on 11 and took advantage of that. Hit a good iron shot on 12, had a good gap on 13 and hit another fairway on 14.
As soon as you hit a fairway on this course you get yourself in good spots to make birdies. I think I took every chance I could out there today.
First of all I need to be a bit straighter off the tee. It is a bit exhausting to be hitting these different kinds of shots off the trees all the time. If I’m better off the tee, my iron play, my wedge game is pretty good and my putting is certainly good. If I find some fairways tomorrow it could be interesting.