Australian Lucas Herbert will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Portugal Masters after firing a seven-under-par 64 on Saturday, as Sergio Garcia showed signs of form ahead of the Ryder Cup.
Herbert, who is ranked 158 in the world, rolled in eight birdies in Vilamoura to reach 19-under for the tournament.
The 22-year-old is playing on sponsors’ invites this season, but is now set to secure a European Tour card for 2019, having already notched four top-10 finishes this year.
“I think this week is as close to the A-game as we get,” he told europeantour.com. “Some good confidence going into tomorrow and hopefully that form sticks around. (I’m) in the position I want to be in so not much more we can do.”
England’s Tom Lewis, who had looked set to miss the cut after the opening round, moved into second-place with a magnificent 10-under 61.
Eddie Pepperell continued his strong form and is only four shots off the lead, tied for third with Swede Marcus Kinhult, while Friday’s star Oliver Fisher sits a stroke further adrift after following up his record-breaking 59 with a 69.
That's some putt, @PepperellEddie!
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) September 22, 2018
Former Masters champion Garcia, playing the tournament in a bid to find form before next week’s Ryder Cup, managed four birdies, including one on the 18th, to sign for a 68 and a nine-under total, one ahead of his Europe teammate Thorbjorn Olesen.
Ireland’s Shane Lowry was just one shot off the lead after round one, carding a seven under 64. A 69 yesterday paled into comparison with the likes of Fisher, with the Offaly man teeing off three shots behind today.
Lowry’s Saturday was quiet for the most part, with three birdies just edging two dropped shots over the first 14 holes, but birdies on 17 and 18 propelled him into the top ten, though he goes out tomorrow in the final round of an even he won in 2012 a mammoth seven shots off the pace.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)