Tough day for Irish in Finland as Helligkilde goes in search of wire-to-wire win

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Tough day for Irish in Finland as Helligkilde goes in search of wire-to-wire win

Robin Dawson (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

It wasn’t the moving day Ireland’s six weekend contenders would’ve been chasing as Marcus Helligkilde grabbed a five-stroke lead heading into the final day of the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge after posting a six-under par round of 66, which included eight birdies.

Kinsale’s John Murphy top-scored for Ireland’s contingent with a one-under 71 to move him into a share of 34th alongside Paul McBride and Jonathan Yates who both carded 73s to sit at five-under ahead of the final day.

Tramore’s Robin Dawson had promised so much after an opening 64 but he went 11 shots worse on Saturday with a 75 to drop to a tie for 42nd at minus-four. Mallow’s James Sugrue is just inside the top-50 at three-under after an even-par 72 while Conor O’Rourke endured a nightmare 79 to drop completely out of contention.

24-year-old Helligkilde sits in pole position for the third consecutive day and will attempt to claim a maiden European Challenge Tour victory in wire-to-wire fashion at Vierumäki Resort.

Helligkilde moved to 22 under par in total, his lowest three round score since turning professional and admitted he thrived in the pressurised environment that comes with playing in the final group.

“You get nervous when you’re in the lead and I got that today,” he said. “I had to remind myself that I love playing golf and all I can do is try my best. I just enjoyed myself out there and no matter what happens I am just going to have fun tomorrow. I love being in contention and all of the feelings that you get from playing in the final group.”

“I didn’t even realise I was five shots clear to be honest. The putting was good today, the driving was good, and my approaches were ok. Overall, I’m happy with my round of golf.”

The Dane currently sits in 30th position on the Road to Mallorca Rankings and is looking to break into the top 20 with victory in Finland tomorrow. Helligkilde showed no signs of complacency and believes keeping the ball in play off the tee will be crucial if he is to triumph.

“I will have the same game plan and just try to be the best version of myself again. I will get the fear of choking the lead about 100 times this evening, but I just have to accept that and believe in myself. I haven’t managed to win on the Challenge Tour yet but hopefully that changes very soon.”

“The golf course was so firm and because there was so much wind the ball was travelling so far. You had to hit the fairways to have a chance of attacking the tucked pins because you will be unable to keep the ball on the green if you’re coming in from the rough.”

Sweden’s Jesper Svensson sits in second place on 17 under par after he also carded a six under par round of 66, while compatriot Jesper Kennegard and Englishman Todd Clements share third on 14 under. Denmark’s Niklas Nørgaard Møller is solely placed in fifth on 13 under par.

The final round of the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge will begin at 7:30am local time on Sunday, with Helligkilde teeing it up in the final group alongside Swedish duo Svensson and Kennegard at 9:31am.

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