Tournament: Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final supported by The R&A
Venue: Club de Golf Alcanada, Port d’Alcúdia, Mallorca
Hashtag: #RolexGrandFinal #RoadtoMallorca
Round Three report
The Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final supported by The R&A is set for a thrilling finale after Bryce Easton claimed a share of the 54-hole lead as he looks to break into the Road to Mallorca top 20.
The South African made five back nine birdies in a round of 66 to move alongside England’s Nathan Kimsey at the top of the leaderboard on seven under par, with both men harbouring different aspirations ahead of the final round.
Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge winner Kimsey is already guaranteed graduation to the DP World Tour but a win at Club de Golf Alcanada would see him become the first English Challenge Tour Number One since Jordan Smith in 2016.
Easton, meanwhile, came into the week in 38th position on the Road to Mallorca Rankings and knew he needed at least a share of third place with no more than one other player to have a chance of earning a spot in the top 20.
The three-time Sunshine Tour winner is now handily placed to fight for both his first Challenge Tour title and a spot in the top 20 but he, and Kimsey, will need to hold off a bunched pack of chasers if either are to lift the title on Sunday evening.
England’s Matthew Baldwin currently sits one shot back in third place, while Swede Oscar Lengden and Adrien Saddier, of France, are a shot further back in a tie for fourth on five under par.
Another Englishman, John Parry, shares sixth place with Alexander Knappe who would become the first German Challenge Tour Number One if he wins in Port d’Alcúdia.
Scotsman Euan Walker, who is in a tie for eighth with Jeong weon Ko, carded the fifth hole-in-one in the history of the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final when he aced the par three 17th hole.
Bryce Easton: “I got off to a nice solid start. I felt like I picked up from where I was the last couple of days. Tee to green has been solid and I just slowly stayed patient with it and eventually got some putts to fall.
“I know what needs to be done but at the same time I’m not really paying any attention to it. I’m on a bit of a mission with it to do something a bit different and that’s just doing my own thing. If I’m totally honest, that’s what’s really gone wrong this season, trying a bit too hard to force a result. With the points breakdown being so top-heavy, you need those big weeks. When you get yourself in contention it’s difficult not to think about it.
“What a great place for the family to come. The little guy is loving it. He’s been on the beach, he was out here watching me hit a few putts the other day. It’s busy, there’s a lot going on. It’s not as easy as just getting out the house when you need to but it’s awesome to have them here this week and share this experience with them.”
Nathan Kimsey: “I was just staying patient. We got off to a bit of a nightmare start, all three of us, on the first and I just made a few pars after that and couldn’t get things going. I felt like I was hitting it pretty nicely so I just kept on kept faith that the putts would drop.
“I don’t want to say it was easy but I think the nature of this course and set-up makes it pretty tough anyway. With a little bit less wind and a few of the flags were a little bit friendlier today so it felt like you could give yourself a few more chances.
“It’s just doing the same things. Making sure I commit to the golf shots I want to hit and have patience.”
Matthew Baldwin: “It was solid. It was a little bit of struggle for ten or 11 holes and then I managed to pull my finger out and have a bit of a birdie blitz on the back nine so it was good.
“It wasn’t the conditions or anything, I was just hitting a few sloppy shots and I said to Julian, my caddie, I feel a little bit flat, it feels a bit strange, but I was always in the tournament and I just had to dig deep and try and hit good shots as much as I could.
“I wouldn’t say I’m excited! I’m fine. It’s an opportunity at the end of the day. It’s an opportunity to go out and play well and if I do play well to the best of my ability then hopefully I’ll be close by the end.”
Euan Walker: “I’m going to be honest, I didn’t hit many good shots today. For the hole in one, I was just so angry that I’d just been duffing it all round so I thought I’m just going to hit this at the hole and I hit it absolutely perfectly. Strike, flight, it was exactly how I imagined it. One of few good ones today.”
Round three scores:
209 N KIMSEY (ENG) 70 73 66, B EASTON (RSA) 71 72 66,
210 M BALDWIN (ENG) 70 69 71,
211 O LENGDEN (SWE) 70 75 66, A SADDIER (FRA) 74 65 72,
212 A KNAPPE (GER) 69 74 69, J PARRY (ENG) 70 72 70,
213 E WALKER (SCO) 68 75 70, J KO (FRA) 69 72 72,
214 M GRADECKI (POL) 75 70 69, A PLANT (ENG) 73 72 69,
215 M SCHMITT (GER) 70 75 70, K JOHANNESSEN (NOR) 72 73 70, J SAINZ (ESP) 68 76 71, V MEYER (GER) 72 72 71, N BACHEM (GER) 70 70 75,
216 T CLEMENTS (ENG) 69 77 70, T MCKIBBIN (NIR) 73 73 70, D HILLIER (NZL) 74 71 71,
217 B RUSCH (SUI) 73 76 68, M LINDBERG (SWE) 72 74 71, M HAMMER (GER) 71 74 72,
218 B VIRTO (ESP) 78 70 70, D GERMISHUYS (RSA) 72 75 71, A DEL REY (ESP) 73 73 72, O HUNDEB?LL (DEN) 76 69 73,
219 M SIMONSEN (DEN) 73 74 72, S FORSSTR?M (SWE) 75 71 73, F SCHOTT (GER) 74 72 73,
220 D BROWN (ENG) 78 77 65, F MORY (FRA) 76 74 70, D RAVETTO (FRA) 79 70 71, J DANTORP (SWE) 75 74 71, J MURPHY (IRL) 76 72 72, N KRISTENSEN (DEN) 75 72 73, U COUSSAUD (FRA) 75 70 75,
221 J FREIBURGHAUS (SUI) 70 73 78,
223 M PENGE (ENG) 76 75 72, L SCALISE (ITA) 71 74 78,
224 C MIVIS (BEL) 77 77 70, C SORDET (FRA) 73 80 71, J RITCHIE (RSA) 72 76 76,
225 E CUARTERO BLANCO (ESP) 76 77 72,
226 R SCIOT-SIEGRIST (FRA) 77 76 73,
232 P PINEAU (FRA) 85 74 73,