Thriston Lawrence will head into the final round of the Omega European Masters with a three-shot lead courtesy of a stunning 67 on Saturday.
The South African, who became the first winner of the DP World Tour era at the 36-hole Joburg Open in November, is in a strong position to claim his second victory of the 2022 campaign at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club after making five birdies and two bogeys in the third round to get to 17 under par.
An early start awaited Lawrence on day three, as he returned to the course at 7:40am to complete his second round after Friday’s weather delay left him with four holes still to play.
He made a closing birdie at the 18th to start the third round one shot off the lead, and although he bogeyed the 5th, he bounced back with birdies at the 6th and 9th to grab a share of top spot.
Another bogey followed on the 10th before a run of three birdies in four holes from the 11th catapulted Lawrence into a four-shot lead.
The 25-year-old closed his round with four successive pars to sit three strokes clear of Matt Wallace after the Englishman’s birdie-birdie finish.
Scott Jamieson and Richard Mansell were another shot further back on 13 under.
Lawrence made a patient start to his third round, opening with four straight pars before bogeying the 5th following an errant tee shot.
He bounced straight back with a close-range birdie on the 6th before tapping in for another gain at the 9th.
The South African got into tree trouble off the 10th tee and managed to limit the damage to a bogey, but with overnight leader Alejandro Cañizares also dropping a shot there, Lawrence maintained his share of the lead.
After sending his tee shot at the short 11th to 20 feet, Lawrence rolled in the birdie putt to take the outright lead on 15 under.
He safely parred the 12th and, with Cañizares surrendering a double- bogey there, Lawrence had a much more comfortable lead.
Lawrence then took advantage of the par-three 13th, holing his seven-foot birdie putt before making it back-to-back gains at the long 14th to jump to 17 under and move four clear of his nearest competitor.
He made a superb par save at the short 16th to maintain his huge advantage, and came agonisingly close to birdieing the last but had to settle for a par there.
“I’m pleased. Being in that position around the lead, shooting a score under par is always nice,” Lawrence said.
“I’m happy with the way I played, very solid, made a few clutch putts. I’m confident going into tomorrow. It will be nice to see where we are after four rounds.
“There is a lot of golf to be played so just stick to the process, stick to the gameplan, and just enjoy it.”
– Report from DP World Tour website