Ewen Ferguson has retained his lead on day three of the World Invitational with a third round 68 at Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Northern Ireland.
The Scot, winner in March of the Qatar Masters, set up the chance of a second European Tour win with a controlled round which featured four birdies and two bogeys.
Ferguson has led at the end of all three days but came under pressure from Italian amateur Filippo Celli. He emerged from the pack when an eagle on the fourth saw him claim the lead on 11 under but that was as good as it got, a double bogey on nine dropping him four shots off the lead.
A birdie at 10 handed Ferguson a four-shot advantage but successive bogeys on 14 and 15 saw his lead cut before he stopped the rot with pars on 16 and 17 and a birdie on the last to lead by three after a round of 68.
American John Catlin’s 66 took him to second ahead of a four-way tie for third on seven under.
Ferguson admitted he had to work hard after his fine opening day.
He said: “It becomes a bit tough and you just need to try and grind it. I kind of accepted that and just tried to hit some good shots. My swing still feels good and I’ve got a nice rhythm and all that stuff.”
On leading since the opening day, he added: “I’ve not really thought about it to be honest. I’ve just been kind of enjoying it for the last couple of days.”
Jake McLeod and Zach Murray both shot 69s to remain the leading Australians, they are equal 21st on one under par.