Robin Dawson fired a three-under par 69 to move up the leaderboard on day three of the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil at Terre dei Consoli Golf Club.
The Tramore professional went into the weekend as the sole Irish representative to survive Friday’s cut and took full advantage; the 23-year old returning four birdies to move nine places up the board into a tie for 27th at five-under par.
Despite Dawson’s advances, Antoine Rozner is in pole position to seal his third European Challenge Tour win – and with it instant promotion to the European Tour – after opening up a three shot lead at the end of day three.
The Frenchman won the Challenge de España and Prague Golf Challenge in May and is set to secure promotion to the European Tour after recording a bogey free round of 67, five-under par, to extend his advantage to three shots at Terre dei Consoli Golf Club.
After opening rounds of 68-66, the overnight leader maintained his momentum with seven consecutive pars before making consecutive birdies ahead of the turn. Four more pars followed from the tenth hole until the 26-year-old picked up his third gain of the round at the par five 14th. He then holed two more on 16 and 17 to extend his advantage at the top, tapping in for par on the last to finish the day three strokes ahead of Oliver Farr in second place.
With 18 holes left to play and a three shot advantage, Rozner, who could become the second fastest player behind Kristoffer Broberg to secure a three win promotion, is solely focussed on a good score on the final day and not the success which could follow.
“I don’t try to think too much about it,” he said. “At this point right now, a good performance at an event will guarantee me a top 15 finish at the end of the year.
“If I win, then that’s awesome because I can finish the year on the European Tour, and I know that is somewhere in my mind, but it is a bonus more than anything else. I really want to do something good tomorrow, and if I win that’ll be great but if I don’t, I’ll still be in a good position in the Rankings.
“Five-under par is great score and I’ll take that every day. Hopefully, I can do something similar tomorrow.
“The field going to come at me, so I’ve got to play well and put another good score together because the guys behind me are good and they shot some really low scores today. They’re going to come at me hard tomorrow, so I’ve got to be ready.”
Welshman Farr, who finished in a share of fifth place in Switzerland earlier this month, is the closest challenger to Rozner, after he carded a round of 66, six-under par, to move up to second position.
A further shot back is a chasing pack of four players, including Australian Ben Eccles, France’s Grégory Havret, Matthew Jordan of England, who had a hole-in-one on the par three 16th, and Swiss Raphaël de Sousa, who tied the course record with a round of 65, seven-under par. Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson also equalled the course record on moving day and sits two further strokes behind in a share of tenth place.
The final round of the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil gets under way at 6:30am local time, with Rozner teeing off at 11:20am.
Full Scoring HERE