MADEIRA, Portugal -- Spaniard Carlos Del Moral knocked two strokes off his previous best European Tour round on Saturday and is in control of the Madeira Islands Open with a round to go.
The 26-year-old from Valencia, with a previous highest finish of fifth on the circuit, charged from five behind to three in front with a sparkling 9-under-par 63.
MADEIRA ISLANDS OPEN
This week marks the 20th staging of the Madeira Islands Open, one of the smallest events on the European Tour but also one of the most scenically spectacular.
Del Moral, ranked 397th in the world, reached 17 under par on a day to forget for ex-Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson. Hoping for his first victory after an amazing nine runners-up finishes, Wilson led after 36 holes but managed only a 72 and is now four back in a tie for third.
Del Moral took over at the top with six birdies in an outward 30 and then finished with three more birdies to march clear of the field.
"It was incredible," said Del Moral, who had just 22 putts in his round. "I putted beautifully and it gives me a lot of confidence. I had nine holes in a row -- the entire front nine -- with only one putt. And the ones that I missed were so close to going in.
"It was tough mentally on the back nine. I have been working on my swing for a while and this is the first time I've been up there in a tournament and it feels like it is in place.
"Last week at the Spanish Open I played well, but didn't putt well," he added. "I'm very excited about tomorrow. I've been up there before a few times and didn't perform as well as I'd hoped, but I'm a much more mature player now and I am looking forward to it."
Wilson didn’t have a single bogey in opening with rounds of 66 and 65, but mixed three with three birdies, the last of those on the final green at least boosting his confidence entering the final day.
Joakim Lagergren is second on 14 under following a 70, with his fellow Swedes Mikael Lundberg and Magnus Carlsson. Wilson and Portugal's Ricardo Santos are one further back.
"I was a little nervous on the first tee, but that soon went away. My putter was ice cold and I missed a few short ones," said Lagergren. "I'll have to go on the hunt tomorrow. I've shot 66 the first two rounds, so I know there are low scores out there.
"Carlos is three ahead but that's not a lot in a final round, so I've just got to concentrate on playing well and hopefully I can catch him."