Belgium’s Thomas Pieters is on course to make his 6,000-mile dash from Rio to Prague worthwhile after establishing a two-shot lead after the third round of the D+D REAL Czech Masters.
The defending champion, who narrowly missed out on a medal after finishing fourth on golf’s return to the Olympics last week, fired four birdies in his first 10 holes at Albatross Golf Resort before bogeying the 11th and 12th.
A two-under-par 70 took him to 12 under for the week, two ahead of American Paul Peterson, although he was not entirely satisfied with his efforts.
“There were too many poor shots today,” said the 24-year-old. “I started off nicely and got to four under but then there were a couple of bad swings and I just didn’t find my rhythm at the end.
“I had some good birdie looks down the stretch but I didn’t hit enough good putts and the greens were a little bumpy.”
Peterson surged into contention with a best-of-the-week 64, with England’s Robert Rock a shot further back in third after a flawless 65 that left him alongside Dane Jeff Winther on nine under.
Matt Fitzpatrick, who currently occupies the ninth and last automatic qualification place for Europe’s Ryder Cup team, remained in the top 10 with a 71, with his seven under total enough for a share of sixth.