Marc Warren shares 54-hole lead at Austrian Open, Connor Syme just one behind
Warren chasing his first European Tour win for almost six years as Connor Syme celebrates his 25th birthday with the only bogey-free round of day three.
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 13/07/20 7:48pm
Marc Warren was proud of his ability to grind hard in terrible conditions after earning a share of the lead after the third round of the Austrian Open.
Having come off the course dripping in sweat after a hot and humid round two, the third day at the Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg was a completely different proposition as Warren managed a creditable two-under 70 which lifted him to 11 under alongside Nicolai von Dellingshausen.
Warren's fellow Scot, Connor Syme, celebrated his 25th birthday with a three-under 69, the only bogey-free round of the third day and one of only four sub-70 scores, but overnight-leader Miguel Angel Jimenez's bid to become the oldest European Tour winner - again - took a hit after he struggled to a 77 and slipped five strokes off the pace.
Von Dellingshausen got off to an excellent start when he birdied three of the first four holes, although he bogeyed the eighth and 14th before finally getting his fourth birdie of the day on the board at the long 15th and parring in to return a 70 and assume the clubhouse lead.
The German had company moments later when Warren also completed a two-under round, which started with a bogey-six at the first before the 39-year-old responded with three birdies in four holes and, after another blemish at the ninth, he matched Von Dellingshausen's birdie at 15.
"I'm probably as wet coming off today as I was yesterday, but with water today instead of sweat," said Warren, who is bidding for his fourth European Tour title but his first since hoisting the Made In Denmark trophy aloft almost six years ago.
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"It was incredibly different conditions, teeing off it was the heaviest rain we'd had all day. It was a grind from the start, so it was good to get round in under par. We were thinking if it carried on like that we wouldn't be out there much longer, but the golf course held up incredibly well. I didn't see one bit of water on the greens.
"As the day goes on everything gets wetter and wetter, it's tough to keep the clubs dry. You're trying to do all that and concentrate on hitting the shot as well. It was a long day. It was a good birdie on 15, I was pleased to be one under on the last four or five.
"I know what to expect. Some guys haven't won before, they might not know what to expect. I'm pretty comfortable with the situation I'm in. Hopefully a good front nine tomorrow and I'll be in with a chance to win."
Birthday-boy Syme, who was runner-up to Mikko Korhonen at the Shot Clock Masters in 2018 at the same venue, was equally delighted to defy the elements and hand in a blemish-free scorecard which included birdies at the first, ninth and 16th as he moved to 10 under with Spain's Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez and Dutchman Darius van Driel.
Syme looked certain to drop a shot at the par-four eighth hole when his tee shot found water, but he managed to scramble a par with a bold fairway-wood shaped around the trees which he followed with a perfect putt.
"It was a brilliant birthday for sure," said Syme. "When we were going down the first, I don't think we were too optimistic about finishing the round to be honest it was so wet, but it did definitely die down a little bit. It was persistent rain all day, so very delighted with my score.
"I started off really well. I wasn't really out of position for seven holes, then got in a bit of trouble at the eighth, but played an unbelievable shot - a five wood sliced around the trees - after hitting it in the water and rolled it in for par, so that kept things going and then birdied the ninth which was a playing hard."
Joost Luiten, the 2013 champion, is one further back after a 72, but Jimenez will need something special to break his own record as the oldest winner on Tour following a dreadful run of holes either side of the turn.
The 56-year-old Spaniard was going nicely at two under through six, but he bogeyed the seventh and then double-bogeyed both the ninth and 10th before dropping further shots at 11, 14 and 15 as he slipped from 13 under to seven under par for the tournament.