Dylan Frittelli moved through the gears at the Royal Golf Club to reach 12 under par and open up a two-shot lead heading into the final round of the Bahrain Championship presented by Bapco Energies as he hunts down a third DP World Tour title.
The South African started slowly, with strong winds again adding an extra layer of difficulty, and went one over par for the day when he found the rough with his tee shot on hole four and ended up with a bogey. But his round sprung to life with three consecutive birdies from the eighth. He went on to pick up further shots on 14 and 16 before giving one back after finding the rough with his second shot at the last to sign for three under 69.
“I’m happy, it was another tough day in the wind today and I seemed to handle it pretty well,” said the 33 year old, who had entered the third round in a share of the lead with Jesper Svensson and Joel Girrbach. “It’s a pity about the two bogeys I made out there but I fought really hard today.
“I was struggling the first seven holes to make a putt and then finally got one to go in on eight and then nine was an easy birdie and 10 was a pretty easy putt as well. But it was not easy out there, it probably looked easy on TV but there was lots cross wind, down wind and I really had to trust my numbers, trust my shot shape, and I seemed execute pretty well today.”
With more wind forecast for Sunday, Frittelli revealed that he will implement the same strategy that has served him well over the last two days.
“The main thing is just to be aggressive,” he said. “It’s easy to get conservative when the wind is blowing and lay up and hit some soft shots but I’m just going to try and make as many birdies as I can tomorrow and if I’m one shot clear, try to make it two and if I’m two shots clear, try to make it three. That’s the goal and my mind set tomorrow.”
Fellow countryman Ockie Strydom, also searching for a third win on the DP World Tour, lies in second place at 10-under after a solid three under 69 – his round also fuelled by a run of three birdies on the bounce from holes 11 to 13 as his new putter caught fire.
“I’m pleased with a 69, it was a test out there today,” said the 39 year old who won last season’s Singapore Classic. “The wind was a little bit less than yesterday but that actually made it a bit tougher as yesterday you could feel which way it was going but it was swirling a little bit today.
“But 69, I’ll take that any day. I didn’t actually look at the scores, just played my game and didn’t get bothered by anything. To be honest if the scores are a little bit worse than yesterday, that’s just golf.
“I’ve got a new putter in the bag which I put in this week. The old one wasn’t working! But I’ve got some confidence with this one and it’s rolling nicely – I’m starting it online and judging the pace to perfection so I’m pleased with it.”
Sweden’s Svensson kept himself in the hunt with a level par 72 to sit alone in third place at nine under while a group of seven players are two shots further back at seven under, with Frenchman Frederic Lacroix the pick of the bunch on day three with a three under 69.
Away from the course Royal Golf Club’s Chairman, Captain Waleed Al Alawi presented the DP World Tour a painting by local Bahraini artist Hussain Al Noaimi who is displaying and selling his artwork in the Village Square at his Sound of Colour kiosk during the tournament.
There was more fun and games in the village with the Kids Zone being well utilised and live music from Quadraphonix.