(Reuters) – Austria’s Matthias Schwab maintained his consistency and carded a six-under par 66 to extend his overnight lead to three strokes after the third round at the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya on Saturday.
Schwab, who led by one at halfway, eagled the first hole and sank six more birdies — offset by a double bogey on the par four 12th — to go 18-under overall and lead five others tied for second at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal golf course.
France’s Benjamin Hebert, England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Ross Fisher, American Patrick Reed and Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre trailed at 15-under overall to give Schwab a realistic chance of claiming his maiden title on the European Tour on Sunday.
“The game plan is going to be the same as it’s been the last three days,” Schwab said. “The course is gettable and there are a lot of birdies out there, so I’ll just stay aggressive because pars won’t be enough.
“I got off to a really nice start on the first hole with the eagle… and then played solid golf all around except for that one little hiccup I had on 12. Other than that, I was hitting them well, I made a few putts. Overall it was a good day.”
Defending champion Justin Rose, who was two strokes behind Schwab heading into the weekend, dented his chances of accomplishing a three-peat after he shot a poor round of 73 to finish tied for 25th — nine strokes behind the Austrian.
Schwab’s compatriot and Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger signed for a two-under par 70, which was his best round at the event so far, and was tied for 54th.
The Open champion Shane Lowry carded a poor 75 to finish tied for 52nd at four-under overall.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar