Valderrama drama assured as Lorenzo-Vera leads by one
Mike Lorenzo-Vera. Picture: Getty Image

Mike Lorenzo-Vera. Picture: Getty Image

Valderrama doesn’t rhyme with drama for nothing. If it wasn’t France’s Mike Lorenzo-Vera (he of the magic underpants of a few years ago) chipping in at the 12th and then holing his third for eagle at the 17th, it was the scorecards of Paul Dunne and Peter Lawrie.

Lawrie had his coach Brendan McDaid on the bag and one wonders what kind of chat was had as he made zero birdies and six bogeys in a 77 that actually moved him up one place to 59th on 15 over par in the Real Club Valderrama Open de España, Hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

Rookie Dunne had five bogeys, including one at the 18th and while he also had two birdies, he hit  just three of 14 fairways and found only six greens in regulation. 

The only number that counts is the score on the card and it was a three over 74 for Dunne, who shares 30th on 10 over, just two shots outside the Top 20 and five outside the Top 10.

With the greens firm and browning, Sunday promises to be a cracker for viewers and galleries and a major challenge for the field.

Lorenzo-Vera produced two moments of magic on the back nine of his third round to take a one shot lead into the final day.

The 31 year old chipped in from the greenside rough for an unlikely birdie on the 12th hole then earned the biggest roar of the day when he holed his third shot on the par five 17th hole for eagle. 

According to the European Tour, "Those celebrations were slightly tempered when his tee shot found the thick rough on the last hole and he had to chip out, but the 2007 Challenge Tour Number One made bogey which was enough for a level par round of 71 and the 54-hole lead on one over par.

"Lorenzo-Vera’s front nine had included a double bogey on the par five fourth hole, where four of his compatriots, including captain Raphaël Jacquelin, had earlier this week set a new world Guinness World Records™ title for the ‘Fastest hole of golf by a team of four’. But Lorenzo-Vera’s back nine fireworks mean he now has the chance to become the first Frenchman to win the Open de España since Jacquelin triumphed in an epic nine-hole play-off in 2013.

"He is one stroke clear of two-time Major Champion Martin Kaymer, who posted four birdies in his level par round of 71 to stay on two over par. German Kaymer is joined on that mark by Englishman Andrew Johnston, who signed for a 74, and Dutchman Joost Luiten, who battled to a superb one under par round of 70 on another tough day for scoring at Real Golf Club Valderrama.

"Sweden’s Alex Noren, playing in the fifth group out, produced the round of the day with an impressive 68 to surge into the top ten, birdieing both of the closing holes to sit just four shots off the pace on five over par. Also in a share of ninth position is Denmark’s Thomas Bjørn, a member of the 1997 European Ryder Cup team at Real Club Valderrrama, who returned his second consecutive round of 71.

Mike Lorenzo Vera – 71 (level par total)

The wedge was very hot today. I hit two chip in shots, which is pretty cool. I thought the chip in on 12 was the best shot of the week and then an hour later I holed it on 17.  But I think the shot on 12 was still probably better. It was magic.
On the 17th, when we hit the drive, my caddie (Pierre Labedan) is one of my best friends and he has never been to a European Tour event before and when we got to the top of the hill he saw the public, and he said that could be messy if we do anything here, and that was pretty messy. That was really fun to see.
I’m very excited for tomorrow, I’m going to take a big nap because it takes so much energy to stay patient out there. And I’m going to relax and try to enjoy tomorrow.

Joost Luiten – 70 (+2 total)

It was just a very tough day today. Valderrama is a very tough course in no wind, and today it was really blowing. So you just try to make pars and a couple of birdies, but you know you are going to make a couple of bogeys as well. I was one under for the day and I’m very happy because any score around par is a good score.

Martin Kaymer – 71 (+2 total)

I really, really enjoyed the golf course. If there is one course I can play for the rest of life it would be this one – it’s so pretty – it was very hard to play the last couple of days – so therefore if you shoot level like I did today then was brilliant and makes it even more enjoyable.

Andrew Johnson – 74 (+2 total)

It was very hard fought out there. I just tried to dig in on every shot and not make any bogeys or doubles. It went alright for me. I just tried to keep it in play. I was disappointed with a couple of wedges into the greens, but I hung in there and just kept going. It is tough and others are dropping shots as well.
I’m kind of use to a hard course now. I’ll just keep it the same for tomorrow, expect the same, and if it’s playing easier, then it would be good, but if it’s not then I’m prepared for it. 

Complete third round scores

214 M Lorenzo-Vera  (Fra) 73 70 71,

215 A Johnston (Eng) 67 74 74, M Kaymer (Ger) 69 75 71, J Luiten (Ned) 70 75 70,

216 R Fisher (Eng) 70 74 72, J Morrison  (Eng) 67 75 74,

217 P Angles  (Esp) 72 71 74, P Larrazábal (Esp) 68 71 78,

218 T Bjørn (Den) 76 71 71, A Cañizares  (Esp) 67 75 76, A Noren  (Swe) 75 75 68, R Bland (Eng) 71 72 75,

219 T Pieters  (Bel) 73 72 74, C Lee (Sco) 71 72 76, N Bertasio (Ita) 74 72 73, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 74 73 72,

220 S Garcia  (Esp) 74 71 75, J Carlsson (Swe) 72 76 72, S Kjeldsen (Den) 71 77 72,

221 A Otaegui  (Esp) 74 76 71, R Gouveia (Por) 72 74 75, P Hanson (Swe) 75 70 76, J Garcia Pinto (Esp) 69 75 77, M Kieffer (Ger) 70 79 72,

222 N Elvira  (Esp) 72 78 72, R Ramsay  (Sco) 69 76 77, J Quesne  (Fra) 73 75 74, P Edberg (Swe) 75 74 73, S Manley (Wal) 67 79 76,

223 T Fleetwood  (Eng) 71 78 74, J Robinson (Eng) 73 73 77, A Levy (Fra) 66 76 81, B Dredge (Wal) 73 78 72, T Linard (Fra) 73 75 75, A Sullivan (Eng) 71 78 74, G Storm  (Eng) 74 73 76, Paul Dunne (Irl) 73 76 74, E Molinari  (Ita) 74 73 76, R Jacquelin (Fra) 71 78 74,

224 B Virto Astudillo (Esp) 73 77 74, S Chawrasia (Ind) 73 74 77, E Pepperell (Eng) 77 74 73, S Webster (Eng) 72 77 75, J Lara (Esp) 72 75 77, J Fahrbring (Swe) 76 73 75,

225 G Bourdy (Fra) 70 74 81, P Uihlein  (USA) 75 75 75, T Olesen (Den) 74 75 76, M Ilonen  (Fin) 75 72 78, M Kinhult (Swe) 73 78 74, D Drysdale (Sco) 72 76 77,

226 D Dixon (Eng) 72 77 77, B Åkesson (Swe) 75 76 75, M Siem  (Ger) 74 77 75, C Wood  (Eng) 72 75 79,

227 G Fdez-Castaño  (Esp) 73 76 78, S Gros (Fra) 73 77 77, J Knutzon (USA) 75 73 79,

228 C Shinkwin (Eng) 75 75 78, B Evans  (Eng) 74 72 82, R Paratore (Ita) 75 76 77, R Sterne  (RSA) 74 75 79, Peter Lawrie (Irl) 77 74 77, P Lawrie (Sco) 73 76 79,

229 A Quiros  (Esp) 77 73 79, D Brooks (Eng) 77 74 78, S Benson (Eng) 75 76 78,

232 K Broberg (Swe) 78 73 81, R Kakko  (Fin) 73 76 83.