A brilliant hole-in-one has helped France’s Victor Perez claim a slender lead in the European Open as he seeks back-to-back victories on the European Tour.
Perez, who defeated Ryan Fox in a play-off to win the Dutch Open on Sunday, made a spectacular start to his third round at Green Eagle Golf Courses outsie Hamburg with a birdie on the first and hole-in-one on the second.
The 29-year-old holed out with a six iron from 217 yards to suddenly find himself two shots in front, having started the day two behind playing partner Jordan Smith.
After a bogey on the fifth, Perez also birdied the ninth to lead by three, only to drop shots on the 13th and 15th to fall two behind Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren.
However, on a rollercoaster day, Lagergren made a double bogey on the 16th and dropped another shot on the last, leaving France’s Julien Brun on top of the leaderboard thanks to birdies on the 15th and 16th.
That proved short-lived though, Brun running up a double bogey on the 18th after pulling his tee shot into the water, leaving Perez at the head of affairs on five under par, despite a back nine of 40 in his 71.
Brun and Lagergren share second place on four under, with Holland’s Wil Besseling and China’s Li Haotong on three under, Besseling having holed from 57 feet for an eagle on the 18th.
On a difficult day for scoring, Smith’s 77 dropped him four shots off the pace, with world number 41 Tommy Fleetwood another stroke back following a 69 – the joint lowest score of the day – which vaulted the Ryder Cup star 35 places up the leaderboard.
The sole remaining Australian Jason Scrivener is in joint 11th place, still not completely out of the hunt as he lies only five shots off the lead following his third-round 73.