Unheralded Spaniard Eduardo De la Riva will take a one-stroke lead into Sunday’s final round of the Andalucia Open.
De la Riva regularly competes on the Spanish regional tour, and the Andalucia Open is only his ninth European Tour appearance in four years, with all but one having been contested in his homeland.
He posted six birdies and two bogeys in a round of 68 on Saturday for a 12-under-par tally at Aloha Golf Club on the Costa del Sol to maintain the slender advantage he held overnight as he seeks a remarkable victory.
Ranked 610th in the world, the 29-year-old does not even have a European Tour card and has only once come through Q-School in nine attempts.
But he can draw confidence from finishing third at the Madrid Masters last October and has golf in his blood. His father was Spanish Amateur champion seven times and his mother won the Spanish junior title on three occasions.
De La Riva's nearest challengers are England's former BMW PGA Championship winner Simon Khan and Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, who carded rounds of 66 and 68 respectively.
England's David Lynn and South African Hennie Otto are another stroke back on 10 under, as is local favorite and tournament promoter Miguel Angel Jimenez, who has helped to keep the event afloat by dipping into his own pocket.
"I need to win to break even," said Jimenez with a smile, though he may not be joking.
The 48-year-old Jimenez also is trying to become the oldest winner in European Tour history on the course where he is an honorary member, and added a 69 today to previous rounds of 69 and 68.
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