Brandon Stone will go in search of his first European Tour victory since last year’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open when he takes a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Portugal Masters.
The South African, who won his first Rolex Series title at Gullane in 2018, carded his third consecutive round of 66 at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course to set a target of 15 under par, two strokes ahead of compatriot Dean Burmester and England’s Oliver Fisher.
Burmester started the third round five strokes behind 36-hole leader Fisher but carded the joint-low round of the day, a six under par 65, to move into second. Fisher carded the European Tour’s first round
of 59 en route to a seventh-place finish at this event last year.
Steven Brown matched Burmester’s six under par total to take fourth place after 54 holes. The Englishman needs to win or finish in a share of second place to secure his playing rights for the 2020 season. As it stands, the top 116 on the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex will earn their
cards for next year.
Adding to the South African contingent at the top of the leaderboard are George Coetzee, Hayden Porteous and Justin Walters, who share fifth place with South Korea’s Jeunghun Wang on 11 under
FW: Stone rolls into Portugal Masters lead par. Defending champion Tom Lewis shares ninth place with four others on ten under par.
Brandon Stone: “I hit the ball incredibly well today. I think I hit 18 greens again today, which is fantastic. The irons were in tip-top shape. It was really tricky. The pins were tucked and I was fortunate to hole
some putts on the back nine and put together a nice score.
“I’ve been working with my coach and we’ve been doing some hard work. He’s got me swinging as good as I have and as quick and as far as I should be. I was putting too much emphasis on hitting the driver straight, when I have an ability to have a clubhead speed in excess of 120mph and dominate golf courses. I feel comfortable with my swing.”
Dean Burmester: “That back nine is playing pretty tricky with those pins and how the wind is. I’m chuffed with three under on the back nine. More of the same needed, I suppose. This week I’ve been making putts. Number one in strokes gained putting and that’s testament to good scoring. It’s nice – my clubs didn’t arrive for four days, so the first round I just played with a set we manage to build here this week. They arrived Thursday night, so since then it’s been good.
“You want to win tournaments. That’s why you practice so hard. My wife is watching at home – I’m growing this beard until I win again. I spoke to Tony Johnstone and he said he was growing his for five years – I hope mine’s a bit shorter.”
Oliver Fisher: “I played really well at the start, I had a few wedges but didn’t hit anything close. My putter felt okay, but it got away from me a bit. Dom was good toay. I stuck with it and kept patient. The
big thing today was a poor shot into 11, but I made a great up and down there. That was a big putt and then the drive on 12 and three wood got me going .When you have days where you feel like you’re not getting anything out of it, you need to get a spark going. 11 and 12 helped me out.”