Fab four face final day fight in Portugal
Round three report
The stage is set for an epic final day battle at the 57° Open de Portugal @ Morgado Golf Resort as Richard Bland, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, Cormac Sharvin and Henric Sturehed go into the fourth round tied at the top of the leaderboard on ten under par.
First round leader Sturehed bounced back from his second round 75 with a sublime seven under par 65 to set the target before being joined at the top by Garcia Rodriguez thanks to a three under 69, and finally Bland and Sharvin, who posted rounds of 70 and 69, respectively.
The quartet share a narrow one-stroke advantage over a group of five players on nine under par, including 36-hole leader Rhys Enoch, Jack Senior, who tied the low round of the week with an eight under par 64, Frenchman Mathieu Fenasse, Poland’s Adrian Meronk and Francesco Laporta, from Italy.
Sharvin, despite feeling like he did not play his best golf on day three, closed with three birdies in his last five holes to snatch a share of the lead.
“Those last few holes were huge for me because I just dropped a shot on 13 which took me back to level, seven under for the tournament,” he said.
“I was just trying to press on during the last five or six holes to get myself into a position for tomorrow where I’m going to get a chance to win.”
“I’ve been in contention quite a lot this year. I feel like I’ve been up there most weeks and I’ve tried to take things away from those weeks and learn from them. Hopefully I can draw on them tomorrow and give it a good go.”
Experienced Englishman Bland sits second on the Road to Mallorca thanks to four runner-up finishes this season and he will be looking to go one better tomorrow and secure his first victory since his 2001 Challenge Tour Grand Final triumph, a result which will also see him move to the top of the Road to Mallorca Rankings.
“I’m quite happy with scoring 70 but it was one of those where if you played half decent today, you could have put a bit of daylight between the rest of the field,” he said.
“If I shoot the lowest score tomorrow, I win. I know that sounds stupidly simple but that’s it. If I shoot the lowest score tomorrow, I win the tournament, so that’s how I’ve got to approach it.”
“There are a lot of good players on ten under and it looks like it’s pretty bunched at eight and nine under. I think the key is the front nine. If you can play that front nine in two or three under, I think it sets you up.”
Garcia Rodriguez, 30, has two Alps Tour victories to his name in 2019 and despite not hitting the heights of his second round eight under par 64, he was equally pleased with his three under 69 on day three.
“I played very solid,” he said. “The condition of the course is great and the rough is so high and very thick. I played really well but the putter wasn’t the same as yesterday – yesterday it was amazing.”
“I prefer the back nine as I think it is a little bit easier. The strategy off the tee is simpler and it suits my eye more as it plays right to left. I played really solidly.”
“I’m going to try and play the same as every other week tomorrow. It is another day and I’ve been very good all week. In my mind, it is just one more day.”
The final round will begin at 7.30am local time on Sunday September 15, with the final group of Garcia Rodriguez, Sharvin and Sturehed teeing off at 11.21am local time.
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