Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin edged ahead of England's Anthony Wall Saturday to seize a one-shot lead after three rounds of the European Tour’s inaugural Sicilian Open.
Jacquelin will be seeking his third career victory on the European Tour on Sunday, having made his breakthrough in Madrid in 2005 and added a second title at the co-sanctioned Asian Open two years later. The 36-year-old has not had a top-10 finish so far this season, but one surely now beckons.
2011 SICILIAN OPEN
The Sicilian Open is the first European Tour event of 2011 played on European soil, and is the first European Tour event ever played on the Italian island of Sicily.
Like Wall, Jacquelin began his week with a round of 66 and posted a second successive 2-under-par 69, spoiled only by a 6 on the par-5 16th.
Wall also bogeyed the 565-yard hole, having dropped a shot at the 15th as well. And despite having started his round with two birdies in the opening four holes, the 35-year-old Wall, whose first bogey came at the par-3 eighth, completed his round in a 1-over-par 72.
That left him on 8 under, with Jacquelin at 9 under.
Wall has just one European Tour win to his name, and it came 11 years ago at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.
There should be no shortage of players looking to push the front two on Sunday, though Colin Montgomerie looks to have left himself with too much work to do. Montgomerie made a decent start to the tournament and began his third round on 4 under, but an even-par 71 score was no help -- though there were mitigating circumstances for last year's triumphant Ryder Cup captain.
"Considering I spent 21 hours in bed before going out there today, I played okay," Montgomerie said. "I have to say that I feel rotten and am going back to bed right now. It certainly feels like the flu. I just ache all over.
"It is disappointing in the sense that this flu has caused me to miss an opportunity today,” he added. “I felt that I had a chance to make a move and get into contention for the final round. I played okay but you can't do much when you feel as weak as I do now."
Wales' Phillip Price, the former Ryder Cup player, stands alongside England's Jamie Elson on 6 under.
Elson, 29, has yet to register a first European Tour win but had an encouraging fourth place in Johannesburg in January, and three rounds of 69 have put him in the frame again.
Price, at 44, last won on tour in 2003 and had seven birdies and three bogeys in an eventful 67 on the Gary Player-designed course at the Donnafugata Resort.
He would love to end his barren run, and said: "If I play like I did today, I've got a chance."
Nine players shared fifth place on 5 under, including Scotland's Peter Whiteford who followed his opening 74 and second-round 68 with a bogey-free 66.
Joining him on the 5-under mark were three Englishmen -- Simon Dyson, Robert Dinwiddie and Chris Wood -- plus Spain's Jose Manuel Lara, Denmark's Soren Hansen, Swedes Joel Sjoholm and Oscar Floren, and Australia's Richard Green.
Whiteford was one of two players to shoot a best-of-the-day 66, with Ireland's Peter Lawrie also in on the act after managing to avoid any bogeys as he improved to 4 under, putting him alongside Montgomerie.