Chris Wood fired a second consecutive 68 to open up a one-shot lead heading into the final round of the Nordea Masters at Barsebäck Golf and Country Club.
With winds gusting around the tree-lined Malmö layout over the first three days, nobody has managed to go lower than 68 but Wood added a pair of them to his opening 74 to sit at nine under, a shot clear of Frenchman Benjamin Hebert and Italian Renato Paratore.
The Englishman started the day four shots behind overnight leader Jamie Donaldson but carded seven birdies and two bogeys to get his nose in front on a congested leader board in Sweden.
Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen is at seven under after finishing his round with a double-bogey, a shot clear of Welshman Donaldson, England’s Max Orrin and Korean Jeunghun Wang.
Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick of England, Frenchman Alexander Levy and Portuguese José-Filipe Lima are one shot further back at five under par.
Olesen put his second on the par five ninth to six feet for an eagle and the lead and then holed from the fringe on the tenth to get to eight under. Playing partner Wood had birdied the first and fifth with a bogey on the sixth but he went birdie-birdie on the ninth and tenth to sit just a shot off the lead.
Olesen and Wood both took advantage of the par five 12th and Wood added another gain on the 13th, with an Olesen bogey on the next handing the 29 year old the lead.
Both men took advantage of the par five 16th but then stumbled late on, with Olesen losing a ball on the last and Wood failing to get up and down from the sand.
That left the door open for the rest, with Paratore birdieing the 13th and 16th to sign for a 71 and Hebert a picture of consistency with gains on the second, ninth, 12th and 16th in his 70.
Chris Wood: “It felt like quite an easy 68 for me. I was four behind JD to start with and I’ve more than closed the gap. That’s all I was looking to do today.
“I played lovely last week at Wentworth and lost a lot of shots on the greens. I’ve done some really good work over the weekend and we’re making a bit of progress. It’s nice to see a few go in because that gives you a bit of momentum and a bit of confidence.
“It’s not been far off all year without showing any results. It’s really frustrating because I know some good golf is round the corner. I’ll keep doing what I am and the results will come.
“If there’s wind this sort of strength tomorrow, there’s going to be guys who shoot four, five, six under. There’s always one that comes out but I can’t do anything about that. If I do what I have done all week, I’ll be in with a chance.”
Benjamin Hebert: “It was a good round. I started so-so, my driving didn’t work very well early on, but I found a good rhythm on the back nine. My putting was good, especially the short putts, so I’m very happy.
“I had a lot of saves, I saved a lot of pars. That’s why I think my putting worked well, and my chipping was also good. I was working last week to improve this part of my game and it’s improving so I’m very happy.
“I want to do exactly the same tomorrow. I’ll have a good rest tonight, sleep well, and practice tomorrow and then be focused on the course and see what happens. One shot is not so much.”
Renato Paratore: “It was a very good round today, especially at the end. The conditions were not so easy, the greens were very firm. I started with a bogie but came back with two birdies and from there I played solid to make it a good round.
“I had a nice chip in at the fourth and also at the 16th to help me make a good birdie. For me, I putted well, some went in, some went out. The greens were not very easy but I think I putted good today.
“I feel good to be in contention. It will be fun to play tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.”
Thorbjørn Olesen: “It was going well there for a moment. Obviously five under for the day would have been a nice round, but a couple of really bad shots down 18. Actually it was a good four with that second ball, so that’s a little bit of a positive that I can take out of it, but I had three or four shots where I just lost a little bit of concentration in my backswing.
“We had a great match today, me and Woody. Both of us holed some really good putts and there were a couple of really good breaks as well for both of us. It was a great atmosphere with lots of people out there supporting both of us, so it was a fun day.
“I think you have to be patient all the time. It’s a very tough golf course, even though we didn’t have too much wind today and yesterday. Today it was a different direction and some holes were playing a bit easier, but a couple of others, like 18, were playing a lot tougher.
“It’s a tough golf course, but like Woody and me showed today you can make a lot of birdies if you get the putter rolling. It will be a very exciting finish tomorrow I think.”
Round Three Scores
210 C Wood (Eng) 74 68 68,
211 R Paratore (Ita) 68 72 71, B Hebert (Fra) 70 71 70,
212 T Olesen (Den) 72 70 70,
213 J Donaldson (Wal) 69 69 75, J Wang (Kor) 72 71 70, M Orrin (Eng) 68 73 72,
214 J Lima (Por) 71 73 70, A Levy (Fra) 74 72 68, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 73 70 71,
215 A Cañizares (Esp) 76 71 68, E Pepperell (Eng) 70 74 71, G Bourdy (Fra) 73 74 68, A Connelly (Can) 72 70 73, S Chawrasia (Ind) 71 73 71,
216 K Broberg (Swe) 73 72 71, A Noren (Swe) 75 70 71, G Storm (Eng) 73 68 75, N Lemke (Swe) 75 71 70,
217 S Soderberg (Swe) 71 73 73, N Colsaerts (Bel) 73 72 72, S Gros (Fra) 75 70 72, A Sullivan (Eng) 73 71 73, L Haotong (Chn) 70 75 72, M Pavon (Fra) 74 69 74, J Van Zyl (RSA) 72 74 71, L Westwood (Eng) 73 72 72, G Coetzee (RSA) 73 71 73, B Dredge (Wal) 69 74 74, J Smith (Eng) 75 70 72, S Kapur (Ind) 73 73 71, J Guerrier (Fra) 73 73 71,
218 C Blomstrand (Swe) 74 72 72, A Dodt (Aus) 77 68 73, E De La Riva (Esp) 76 71 71, R Green (Aus) 72 71 75, M Siem (Ger) 74 73 71, R Fox (Nzl) 75 72 71, L Canter (Eng) 74 72 72, R Ramsay (Sco) 73 72 73, S Jamieson (Sco) 73 71 74,
219 F Aguilar (Chi) 72 73 74, J Winther (Den) 71 75 73, D Brooks (Eng) 73 73 73, R Sterne (RSA) 75 68 76, P Hanson (Swe) 73 72 74, S Hend (Aus) 71 72 76, D Lipsky (USA) 75 72 72,
220 S Gallacher (Sco) 74 71 75, J Fahrbring (Swe) 72 75 73, H Stenson (Swe) 73 72 75, S Brazel (Aus) 76 71 73, Z Lombard (RSA) 73 72 75,
221 T Lewis (Eng) 71 72 78, N Elvira (Esp) 73 73 75, P Waring (Eng) 75 71 75, L Jensen (Den) 74 72 75, J Lagergren (Swe) 74 70 77, J Edfors (Swe) 77 69 75, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 73 72 76, R Bland (Eng) 77 70 74, N Kimsey (Eng) 74 73 74, O Gillberg (am) (Swe) 76 69 76,
222 A Bernadet (Fra) 76 71 75, M Southgate (Eng) 72 74 76, T Jaidee (Tha) 72 73 77, F Nilehn (am) (Swe) 76 70 76,
223 R Karlberg (Swe) 72 75 76, P Edberg (Swe) 72 75 76,
224 S Dyson (Eng) 73 73 78,
225 L Bjerregaard (Den) 73 74 78,
227 M Manassero (Ita) 75 72 80,