Jonathan Caldwell made a move in the wrong direction on Saturday as he drifted down the leaderboard at the Catalunya Championship.
Caldwell was the lone Irishman to make the cut at PGA Catalunya but he fell to a three-over 75 in his third round to slip back to three-over for the championship.
The Clandeboye native is fourteen shots adrift of South African Oliver Bekker who has put clear daylight between himself and Laurie Canter, opening up a two-shot gap on eleven-under.
There was a two tee start for round three in Girona and Caldwell turned in 38 after three bogeys and a birdie on the 17th.
A bogey on the first hole made it back-to-back dropped shots before he recovered some of the damage with a much-needed birdie on the third.
Five successive pars followed before he rounded off his day with a bogey on the ninth to come home in 37.
It leaves the Scandinavian Mixed champion in a share of 65th position heading into the final round.
Meanwhile at the top, Bekker soared to the summit after a superb five-under 67. The Springbok carded four birdies, an eagle and a bogey to move two clear of Canter and give himself every chance of notching his maiden DP World Tour win on Sunday.
The 37-year-old started well with birdies on the 2nd and 7th before giving one away on the ninth. However, a flawless back nine turned this championship on its head as he surged into the ascendency.
Two birdies in three holes were followed by a stunning eagle on the par-5 15th as he came home in 32.
Bekker has been in fine form this season with five top-10s in nine starts in his first full season back on the DP World Tour and he is hoping his short game can keep him in front on Sunday.
“My short game really got me out of a bit of trouble today on a few occasions and I managed to capitalise on the shots that I did well so, all in all, great,” he said.
“Tomorrow I’m just going to do the same thing, it’s been working for me, I’m not going to change anything. If it’s my day, it’s my day, if not, just try to give my best and see what happens.”
His nearest challenger, Canter on nine-under is also hunting his maiden DP World Tour victory after three runner-up finishes in his career and despite a closing bogey in round three he is looking forward to the final round showdown.
“The great thing about this course, I genuinely think the best player is going to win over 72 holes,” he said. “It’s that sort of a test. That might be an obvious thing to say but it’s really prevalent here. If you manage your game well, chip, putt, it tests all the facets.
“In a way that’s good for me to feel like that, got to go out and try to be the best payer tomorrow. If I can play like I did today and get a bit more out of the round, I’ll have a chance.”
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