Oliver Bekker will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Catalunya Championship as he looks to turn his fine form into a first DP World Tour victory.
The South African had a share of the lead after an opening 66 but entered the weekend one shot behind Laurie Canter at PGA Catalunya Golf and Wellness.
The playing partners did battle throughout round three and it was Bekker who finished on top, carding a 67 to get to 11 under and sit two ahead of Canter, who carded a 70.
Italian duo Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari were then at eight under, a shot clear of Kiwi Ryan Fox and Pole Adrian Meronk.
Bekker has five top-10s in nine starts this term as he plays his first season with full playing privileges after graduating from the European Challenge Tour.
His third-place finish at the Steyn City Championship was the best of his DP World Tour career but he has seven wins on the Sunshine Tour and now has an excellent platform from which to get over the line in Girona.
“My short game really got me out of a bit of trouble today on a few occasions and I managed to capitalise on the shots that I did well so, all in all, great,” he said.
“Tomorrow I’m just going to do the same thing, it’s been working for me, I’m not going to change anything. If it’s my day, it’s my day, if not, just try to give my best and see what happens.”
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) April 30, 2022
Bekker found a nasty divot off the second tee but hit a remarkable shot to six feet to pick up a birdie and join the lead, where he was soon joined by the flying Gagli.
The 36-year-old had eagled the 12th and added birdies at the 13th, 15th and 18th, with a putt from off the green at the first seeing him hit the summit.
Canter made a two-putt birdie on the 3rd and Gagli holed an 18-footer on the 2nd but Canter found another gear as he put a stunning tee-shot to four feet on the 5th and then made a two-putt birdie on the 7th to lead by two at 10 under.
Gagli had found water on the 3rd to drop a shot but he regained it on the par-five 7th for a 65 and he was just one back as Canter dropped a shot on the 9th.
Molinari was alongside his countryman in the clubhouse at eight under after birdies on the 3rd, 4th and 7th, an eagle on the 12th and another birdie on the 15th in a 66 that saw him five under for the par fives.
Bekker had got up and down from the sand for a birdie on the 7th but gave the shot back on the 9th before chipping in on the 10th to also sit one back.
There was then a two-shot swing on the 12th as Bekker got up and down from the sand again for a birdie and, with Canter making a bogey after finding water off the tee, it was Bekker on top.
A six-footer at the 13th put Canter back in a share but Bekker put his second to 18 feet at the par-five 15th and rolled home the eagle putt, with Canter making his birdie to limit the gap to one.
The leader needed an excellent clutch putt to save par on the 17th and a Canter three-putt on the last gave him a cushion heading into day four.
– Report from the DP World Tour website