Peter Lawrie had 35 putts in a third round 74 to damage his chances of a big payday in the Lyoness Open Powered by Greenfinity in Austria
As Lawrie's hopes of a big cheque faded with his fall to tied 26th on three under, Grégory Bourdy saw his overnight four-shot advantage halved by Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello at Diamond Country Club.
Bourdy appeared to be in an excellent position to claim his fifth European Tour title when, having resumed his round following a 95-minute lightning delay, he regained his four-shot lead on the back nine after an early Cabrera-Bello onslaught closed the gap to one.
The Frenchman's only blemish on the 15th - his first since his tenth hole on Friday – coupled with three birdies in four holes from Cabrera-Bello left him just one clear, but Bourdy managed to double that cushion with a fourth birdie on the 16th.
Cabrera-Bello, winner of this event six years ago, reached the turn in 31 courtesy of three birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes before the weather delay halted the Spaniard's momentum.
When play resumed, he bogeyed the 11th and 14th, but fought back with consecutive gains on 15 and 16 to sign for a six under par 66.
Another player to suffer from the lightning delay was Chris Wood. The Englishman, having started his round with three consecutive birdies, was forced to take a penalty drop on the ninth when he fired his tee shot right into the trees and, after returning to finish the hole, could only register a double bogey.
Wood, who won a BMW i8 for a hole-in-one en route to a fourth-place finish at the recent BMW PGA Championship, responded by birdieing the next and last during a round of 70 that left him five shots off the pace.
Michael Hoey's 72 left him tied 33rd on two under alongside Simon Thornton, who posted a two under 70.
"It was another good round because it was difficult today, especially with the suspension of play so three under was a good score," Bourdy said. "After the delay the wind was a bit stronger which made it a bit more difficult but I think I did quite well at the end."
Cabrera Bello felt he'd had a really good day, starting with a birdie at the first and then holing out for eagle at the third.
"Also making two birdies on the par fives – the 15th and 16th on the back nine – was really important for my confidence and to close the gap on Greg going into tomorrow," the Spaniard said.
“The eagle early in the round was a nice surprise and very funny because last night I had dinner with some of the Spanish guys and we were talking about how Miguel always holes out from the fairway and makes all these holes in one. I was saying how I never hole out from the middle of the fairway and then today I finally make one. There you go.
“I feel good about my game at the moment. The last few weeks have been good and I am happy with my game and what I am doing. I am aiming to peak during the best part of the season and I seem to be doing that which is great for tomorrow and great for the next couple of months.”
Wood struggled to hole putts but said he was still confident about his chances.
"I need to go out here and try to post a low score and put some pressure on them – if I can shoot something close to 66 it might be enough.”
Complete Third Round Scores:
201 G Bourdy (Fra) 65 67 69,
203 R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 69 68 66,
206 C Wood (Eng) 67 69 70,
207 S Jamieson (Sco) 72 70 65, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 69 69 69,
208 M Korhonen (Fin) 69 69 70, J Hahn (USA) 71 69 68,
209 G Stal (Fra) 68 68 73,
210 S Griffiths (Eng) 73 71 66, C Pigem (Esp) 72 65 73, R Dinwiddie (Eng) 67 73 70, M Bremner (RSA) 69 74 67, L Jensen (Den) 71 70 69,
213 Peter Lawrie (Irl) 68 71 74; 214 Michael Hoey (Nir) 73 69 72, Simon Thornton (Irl) 70 74 70.
European Senior Tour — Fowler in control at Close House
Australian Peter Fowler took a big step towards claiming back-to-back Senior Tour titles by moving four shots clear at the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship with one round to play.
The 56 year old, who won last week in Jersey, signed for a third round four under par 67 at Close House in north-east England to reach 11 under par overall, four ahead of Englishmen Philip Golding and Carl Mason, who carded rounds of 66 and 70 respectively.
Philip Walton is nine behind after a 71
Fowler faltered with a bogey on the second hole, but came back in fine style with three birdies and an eagle before the turn on the Lee Westwood course. He traded two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine and was very happy with his day’s work.
“It was very good and it’s always good when you’re leading and can notch up another good round, it’s a big help,” he said.
“I’ve just got to play a little bit more solid than I did today and hit more greens. I didn’t hit many on the back nine and I need to consolidate that.
“I’ve played better this week than I did last week and I’ve proved to myself the last couple of weeks that you don’t have to play great to get the job done - you’ve just got to hang in there.
“It would be ideal to get an early score, but it doesn’t always work out the way you plan it. An early birdie would be a big help. I’ve just got to play the whole game and be patient. If it all falls together then that’s great.”
Mason admitted he made a tentative start – he was two over par at the turn – but recovered well and remains in contention to extend his record as the tournament’s most prolific winner.
“I made a very nervy putt for birdie at the first hole from three feet and it was the most awful stroke,” he said. “It unsettled me a little bit. Then I played a few scrappy shots after that and was struggling a bit.
“I couldn’t putt and made some bad swings but I was pleased I held on and had a good back nine. I was watching Peter putt and I remember the days when I used to putt like that.
“I’ve just got to play and make a lot of birdies and hope Peter doesn’t go mad, but he’s full of confidence and on form and will be tough to beat.”
Round 3 scores:
202 P Fowler (Aus) 68 67 67,
206 C Mason (Eng) 68 68 70, P Golding (Eng) 72 68 66,
207 G Manson (Aut) 69 73 65,
210 M Martin (Esp) 69 74 67,
211 Philip Walton (Irl) 70 70 71,
222 Des Smyth (Irl) 75 74 73; Jimmy Heggarty (Nir) 74 74 74,
WD R Rafferty (Nir) 73 73 WD,