Gavin Moynihan slipped down the leaderboard at the Swiss Challenge as he could only manage a three-under 69 at Golf Saint Apollinaire in his third round to take himself out of contention going into the final day.
The Dublin native has dropped to 24th at 11-under for the week, which is 11 shots back of leader Marcus Helligkilde, whose 10-under 62 on Saturday moved him onto 22-under and three shots clear of fellow Dane Nicolai Kristensen with 18 holes to play.
Moynihan was in contention at the halfway stage of the tournament after back-to-back 68s, but he never capitalised on a strong start in his third round as two late bogeys dropped him back down the leaderboard while others were climbing around him.
The 27-year-old had birdied three of his first five holes and looked to be in good form on the day, but he could only find one more birdie at the 12th before he ran into trouble on the back nine.
Back-to-back bogeys came at the 15th and 16th to dash any hopes Moynihan had of making a surge into Sunday contention, meaning a closing birdie at the 18th was scant consolation as he is now just looking to push himself as far up the standings as possible in his final round.
At the top of the leaderboard, Helligkilde stood head and shoulders above anybody else, starting with an eagle and four birdies in his opening five holes, sparking thoughts that he could replicate Alejandro del Rey’s incredible 58 from Friday.
It wouldn’t be that good, but the 24-year-old Dane did add another eagle and four birdies on his way back to the clubhouse – along with two bogeys – for a 62 that has him taking a three-shot advantage into the final day.
“It feels good. We are playing to shoot high scores so it’s nice to be leading by three shots going into tomorrow,” said Helligkilde.
“Six-under through five holes, it’s not very often that you experience that, but I just played the exact same way on all the other holes, I just plodded my way around playing conservative golf. I missed some shots towards the flags and holed some putts along the way too and suddenly you’re six-under through five.
“I am just going to stick to my game plan and just enjoy it as I always try to do. I just want to have a great time when I am out playing golf, even when I am playing bad; but it’s easy when I am playing like this to be happy – I always try to play with a smile on my face and just play.”
Kristensen added a 65 of his own to get to 19-under as Helligkilde’s nearest rival, while a four-strong group consisting of Jonathan Thomson, John Allen, Frederic Lacroix and Per Längfors is still in contention at 18-under.
As for record-breaker Del Rey, who shot the best score to par on any major tour with his 14-under-par round on Friday, he couldn’t come close to replicating that form again on Saturday, taking 68 shots this time around to sit 15-under in a tie for ninth.