American Kevin Stadler will carry a healthy four-shot lead into final day of the French Open after a solid round of one over 72 at Le Golf National on Saturday.
The 34-year-old Reno, Nevada native, saw French playing partner Victor Riu pull within one shot with three birdies on the front nine before disaster struck for the 29-year-old local favourite.
Six bogeys down the stretch dropped Riu into a tie for second with Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee on five under.
“I’m satisfied to finish these 18 holes, the score was pretty average today but nothing too terrible,” said Stadler.
“I wasn’t striking the ball as good as I have, but I picked up a lot of pars.
“It was difficult today with the wind, there were cross winds which made it tricky.
“I tweaked my back a while back and it hasn’t been great for a couple of months but it wasn’t too too painful, I’ll get some treatment on it now.”
Jaidee moved into contention with a fine round of two under par 69 that leaves him four back of Stadler while US Open champion Martin Kaymer carded 70 to stand alone in fourth, a further two shots back.
“The good thing today was my putting, except for the last hole where I made bogey,” said Jaidee.
Riu is having the best tournament of his career and is is on the verge of qualifying for his first major tournament at the British Open and can do so by finishing in the top ten on Sunday.
“I’m a bit disappointed with my finish after a good start. I was a bit tired at the end but I’m happy to finish the 18 holes,” said a slightly dejected Riu.
“I missed a couple of puts by just a few centimetres.”