15 September 2019: Sergio Garcia and Callum Shinkwin will battle it out on the final day after earning a two-shot lead at the KLM Open. Shubhankar Sharma made four birdies in the first six holes as he coasted to a 70 in the third round. The Indian is lying in T15 at 8-under.
Garcia and the 26-year-old Englishman were put together in the penultimate group, but the pair carded only one bogey between them as they surged to the top of the leaderboard at 15 under par.
The Spaniard was blemish-free as he carded a six-under 66, while Shinkwin matched the European Ryder Cup star’s score with seven birdies and one dropped shot at The International.
The duo will be paired together once again for the final round, starting two shots ahead of Danish rising star Nicolai Højgaard, who is making just third European Tour start in Amsterdam.
The 18-year-old World Number 1002 carded six birdies and a bogey to sit alone in third at 13 under, one shot ahead of Englishman James Morrison.
Matt Wallace set the clubhouse target with a stunning course record of 63 on Saturday morning courtesy of ten birdies and one bogey to shoot up to 11 under and was later joined by fellow Englishmen Steven Brown and Southgate.
“I’m really pleased,” Garcia said. “It helps when you are swinging nicely, but it’s not easy. It is never easy. Sometimes we make it look like that but it was tricky. I made a great up and down at ten to keep my run going and then another good finish with a birdie at 17th and 18th.
“When you are a good ball-striker, it always feels like you are missing more than the rest because you have a lot more birdie putts, but they are from a further distance so it is easier to miss them. I realise that and stay patient and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
After a busy start, Garcia and Shinkwin did not look back as they moved to 12 under thanks to birdies at the sixth.
Morrison, playing in the final pair, made a great par save at the seven after finding the greenside bunker before joining the group ahead following a superb approach at the eighth.
However, as Morrison holed his four-foot birdie putt at the eighth, Shinkwin produced a stunning bunker shot of his own to card an unlikely gain and become the first player to reach 13 under.
Morrison was alongside Garcia for just one hole as he bogeyed the ninth, while Shinkwin missed a birdie attempt at the tenth but when he bogeyed the 11th and Garcia picked up a shot from eight feet, the Spaniard took the outright lead at 13 under.
Shinkwin was not alone in third for long as he registered his fifth gain of the round at the 14th to make it a three-way tie for the lead at 13 under.
Højgaard surged into contention after hitting back from a bogey at the second with birdies at the third, eighth, 11th, 13th and 15th to move within one shot of the leading trio.
Morrison joined the 18-year-old Dane at 12 under after a bogey at the 15th, and pair immediately in front made him pay for his dropped shot.
Shinkwin produced a stunning approach from the rough to six feet and when he rolled in his birdie putt, the Englishman was ahead at 14 under.
The penultimate group fired their tee shots within six feet at the par-three 17th and Garcia moved alongside Shinkwin at 14 under, only for the World Number 446 to roll in a gain from four feet to take a one-shot advantage down the last.
A huge drive from Højgaard at the last set up an eagle putt, but the Dane’s effort pulled up just short as he carded a 67 to sit alone in third at 13 under par.
Morrison missed a putt for a gain at the 17th which would have joined the 18-year-old at 13, while Garcia was on the last in two to set up an eagle chance of his own.
His effort was inches right of the cup for a birdie-birdie finish, with Shinkwin only mustering a par to remain at 15 under.
“I have got to maintain my emotions inside,” Shinkwin said. “If I hit a poor shot, don’t let it affect me and just walk on and play the next one.
“I beat myself too much, especially not making birdies early on. I have to just take it one shot at a time and hope it all kicks in.”
Brown mixed six birdies and two bogeys to get to 11 under with Wallace before they were joined by Southgate, who carded an eagle two at the 11th in addition to three gains and three dropped shots.