Ewen Ferguson and Jordan Smith share the lead heading into the final round of the Cazoo Open de France after going toe-to-toe on day three at Le Golf National.
Smith entered the day with a three-shot advantage and while he stretched that to four in the early stages, his momentum stalled and a bogey on the last saw him sign for a one-under-par 70 and a 13-under-par total.
Ferguson made five birdies and a single dropped shot in a four-under-par 67 to move into a tie for the lead with Jordan Smith on a great day for the Scotsman.
Japan’s Kazuki Higa is one shot back on 12-under-par after a brilliant six-under-par 65 which included a superb eagle on the par-5 third.
Hero Cup teammates Smith and Ferguson will go in search of a third DP World Tour title on day four, with the Scotsman looking for a hat-trick in just 18 months.
Ferguson won twice last season after graduating from the European Challenge Tour and has four top tens in 2023 since starting his season at the Hero Cup in January and he told the media afterwards that he is swinging it great and that he’s excited for the challenge ahead tomorrow
“Being in the position we were in, challenging for the lead, I think that brings a different kind of pressure,” said Ferguson. “I knew my swing was in good shape.
“I always look at leaderboards. I’m looking to see who’s making a charge at us, who’s doing what and what I need to do. I’m always looking to see what I need to do to finish on top, same tomorrow and same today.
“I was just trying to hold on to Jordan all the way round, felt like I did that quite well and tomorrow, same again, hopefully I can heat the putter up and get them all dropping.”
Smith spoke of his delight at being in the final group tomorrow and he told the media that he is relishing the battle with Ferguson.
“If you’d given me a tie for the lead at the start of the week, I’d have bitten your hand off,” said the Englishman. “I’m excited for tomorrow. It’s going to be good fun and it’s nice to be in that situation.
“I just didn’t hit as many shots close and didn’t hole as many putts today. It still felt good out there, I just had one bad hole and the putts just didn’t drop but hopefully they will tomorrow.”
Germany’s Yannik Paul carded a bogey-free, four-under-par 67 with a two-putt gain on the third and lengthy putts of 30, 28 and 22 feet on the fourth, 11th and 14th. Paul is one shot behind Higa on 11-under-par, two back of the leaders.
Ryo Hisatsune signed for a 69 to sit at nine under, a shot clear of home favourite Julien Brun, Dane Rasmus Højgaard, South African Zander Lombard and England’s Richard Mansell and two ahead of Austrian Lukas Nemecz and Spaniard Adrian Otaegui.
The final gets underway at 8.33am local time with Smith and Ferguson getting their charge at the title underway at 12.50pm local time, 11.50pm Irish time.