Smith moves clear in Portugal in bid for second DP World Tour success

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Jordan Smith (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Jordan Smith will take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Portugal Masters as he bids for a second DP World Tour title.

The Englishman, whose maiden success came in 2017 at the Porsche European Open, carded his second nine under par round of the week at Dom Pedro Victoria, reaching 22 under par.

After carding an eagle and seven birdies through 15 holes, the Englishman threatened the DP World Tour’s second 59, also achieved at this golf course, but he played the final three holes in level par to eventually sign for a nine under 62.

He is two strokes ahead of Malaysia’s Gavin Green, who carded a seven under 64 to sit in second place as he bids for a maiden DP World Tour title.

“If it happens, then brilliant. It’s the cherry on the cake this year,” said a delighted Smith.  “If it doesn’t then there’s going to be another week when it might happen. I’m just going to go out there and play the attacking golf that I’ve done the last three days, hitting driver everywhere and taking advantage of the soft greens. If it happens it happens.

“The key one was there on 15, it was a horrendous lie in the rough. I was trying to play away from the pin, it came out a bit right, landed and next thing we know it’s gone in the hole. It was a lot of good stuff. I’m just really happy with the way I played and held in there.

“(The putter) was something that I was meant to test and see how it went in the off season. I just happened to put it in the bag for the sake of it in France just to see how it went and it felt awesome. My coach said let’s just go for it. It’s helped out and the numbers have looked good on it. It’s nice to see that finally come together.”

In third place is Germany’s Sebastian Heisele on 17 under par. The 34-year-old is planning on retiring from professional golf and taking up coaching after this week’s tournament.

“I’ll take it and run. Scruffy first couple of holes, didn’t quite feel right,” said Heisele. “Then went down my checklist, tried all sorts of different things towards the end of the nine and found something to get me down the ninth fairway and turned it around from there. I’m happy with a 65.

“Retirement incoming. Tomorrow’s going to be my last round and I’m just here to enjoy myself really.

“(A win) isn’t going to change anything to me. I’m going to be moving on to coaching, I got my certificate two weeks ago. Happy days for me. I’ve loved my time here, but that’s going to be it.”

Sharing fourth on 15 under are Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Hurly Long of Germany, England’s Eddie Pepperell and Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland. Aphibarnrat would need to finish in solo second place at a minimum to retain his playing privileges for 2023 as he started the week outside the top 117 on the DP World Tour Rankings.

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