Cape Town – Finland’s Mikko Korhonen fired a third round, four-under-par 68, for a 13-under total on Saturday heading into the final day of the Shot Clock Masters.
The Finn produced a flawless performance at the European Tour event taking place in Austria on the outskirts of Vienna at Diamond Country Club to lead by five-shots ahead of South African Justin Walters.
On a day when the first ever bad-time penalties were handed out on the European Tour, Korhonen remained bogey-free through 54 holes with a 68 looking very comfortable at the head of the field.
In this week’s tournament, an innovative format is being used where every player has been on the clock for every shot.
In an interview after firing four birdies in his round of 68, the 37-year-old Korhonen said he was excited to be leading going into Sunday’s final round.
“I’m very excited, it’s the first time I’ve been in this position so I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
“I guess I’m just hitting fairways, hitting greens, making a few putts. That’s all really. I’ve felt good swinging and also putting. I have the pace pretty good on the greens.
“I have a game plan which I’m going to follow. I’m not going to say anything more about it. I’ve been doing that for the past three days and I’ll keep doing it.”
Walters fired a level par 72 in a round that consisted of a bogey on the par four third and a birdie on the 16th to sit a shot ahead of England’s David Horsey, Dane Jeppe Pape Huldahl, Spaniard Miguel Ángel Jimenez, Australian Adam Bland, Canadian Austin Connelly, Swede Peter Hanson, Scot Connor Syme and Wu Ashun of China.
With no bad-time penalties handed out on day one and two, Austrian Clemens Prader took four seconds over his allotted 50 on the 16th, becoming the first man ever to be handed a bad-time penalty.
Scot Grant Forrest and Italian Andrea Pavan later joined him as players to be docked a shot after running out of time.
England’s Lee Slattery matched Bland’s 66 to sit at six under alongside Swedish pair Oscar Lengden and Oscar Stark, home favourite Matthias Schwab, Australian Nick Cullen and Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin.
Leading scores after three rounds:
1. Mikko Korhonen -13 (68 67 68)
2. Justin Walters -8 (68 68 72)
T3. Jeppe Pape Huldahl -7 (68 69 72)
Adam Bland (67 73 66)
Peter Hanson (67 73 69)
Miguel Ángel Jiménez (67 70 72)
David Horsey (70 71 68)
Ashun Wu (69 68 72)
Austin Connelly (69 71 69 )
Connor Syme (68 72 69)
T11. Oscar Lengden -6 (66 73 71)
Raphaël Jacquelin (71 69 70)
Oscar Stark (69 72 69 )
Nick Cullen (70 70 70)
Matthias Schwab (69 68 73)
Lee Slattery (72 72 66)
T17. Eirik Tage Johansen -5 (71 69 71)
Søren Kjeldsen (69 73 69)
Mark Foster (69 75 67)