Matthew Fitzpatrick will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Omega European Masters as he looks to become the first player to successfully defend the title since Seve Ballesteros.
The Spanish great lifted the trophy at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in 1977 and 1978 and Fitzpatrick’s third round 63 left him in pole position to emulate the 50-time European Tour winner on Sunday.
The Englishman will head into day four at 14 under, two shots clear of Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera and four ahead of countryman Daniel Brooks, Dane Lucas Bjerregaard, American Doug Ghim, South African Haydn Porteous and China’s Wu Ashun.
Porteous, who birdied 12th and then both of the back nine’s par-fives, climbed two spots on Saturday courtesy of a bogey-free 66 and sits one shot ahead of compatriot Thomas Aiken, who bogeyed 16th to spoil a run that included two consecutive birdies on either side of that blemish.
The pair are joined by Erik van Rooyen and Charl Schwartzel in the top 20 with the latter pair tied for 14th at -6. Van Rooyen, who missed out on joining last week’s playoff in Denmark by one shot, fired a third round 67 to rise 11 places with Schwartzel’s one under 68 coming on the back of a superb finish.
The one-time Major winner was two over for his round through 14 before birdieing every hole on his way home to head into Sunday with plenty of momentum.