European Tour, 12 May 2019: Matt Wallace remains on course to mark the second anniversary of his first win on the European Tour with a fifth title as he heads into the final round of the Betfred British Masters in a share of the lead.
Wallace earned his playing privileges in May 2017 when he won the dual-ranking Open de Portugal at Morgado Golf Resort in just his fourth European Tour start.
Two years and three more titles later, World Number 36 Wallace finds himself at the top of the leaderboard alongside Swede Marcus Kinhult after posting a third round 70 in front of a sell out crowd at Hillside Golf Club.
Halfway leader Wallace had found himself three strokes ahead as he reached the turn on Saturday but a nerveless display from Kinhult on the back nine meant he had company at the top of the leaderboard.
After firing two birdies on the front nine, Kinhult made an eagle, three birdies, one bogey and a double bogey in his final nine holes to join Wallace on 14 under par.
Scot Richie Ramsay was two shots behind the leaders in third after Saturday’s 71, while tournament host Tommy Fleetwood and Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre shared fourth place on 11 under.
The 29-year-old picked up another shot at the long second before making it three in a row with an eight-foot birdie putt at the third to get to 15 under.
After rolling in his close-range par putt at the fourth, Wallace reached the green in two at the par-five fifth but he had to settle for par after requiring three putts.
The Englishman got into tree trouble off the sixth tee but produced a sensational par save from around 18 feet to keep his card clean.
As the wind began to pick up, Wallace parred his way to the turn to stay three shots clear of the chasing pack with nine holes remaining.
That lead was back to three when Kinhult made a bogey on the 13th but Wallace found himself in trouble at the 12th after sending his tee shot into the penalty area after his ball clipped a tree and dropped his first shot of the tournament to return to 15 under.
Kinhult sandwiched a double bogey at the 15th with birdies at the 14th and 16th to remain Wallace’s nearest challenger, and the Swede found himself in a share of the lead when Wallace also surrendered a double bogey at the 15th.
The 22-year-old briefly led on his own courtesy of a close-range birdie at the 17th but Wallace also made his birdie at the penultimate hole to get to 14 under.
It’s not about winning it on Saturday. It’s about putting yourself in a good position, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow now – Matt Wallace
Wallace had the chance to take a one-shot lead into the final round but his birdie putt on the 18th narrowly evaded the hole.
The Englishman said: “That was really good. Obviously, I was frustrated with dropping a couple on the 15th hole. But I think I showed a little bit of different character there to not let it affect me too much and then step up on the next hole, which is tough.
“If you miss that green right, you’re stuffed, and I put it to a good length and played the last three holes really nicely.
“It would have been nice to have holed that putt on the last, but I mean, I would have taken two under at the start of the day, seeing how windy it was.
“We are in great shape. It’s not about winning it on Saturday. It’s about putting yourself in a good position, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow now.”
After his round, he said: “It was tough in the wind I think today, and yeah, I managed to post a good score, so I’m happy.