Sweden’s Jens Dantorp closed with three birdies en route to a third-day 68, good for a one-shot lead after 54 holes of the 2018 ASI Scottish Open.
Dantorp opened with bogey-birdie-bogey, closed with birdie-birdie-birdie, and in between reeled off 12-straight pars to secure the third quarter pole position at 13-under par.
“I kept patient and it was nice to finish,” said Dantorp. “It was a totally different course today. The wind was blowing hard and in a different direction. Wasn’t the same course, really. Feels good to have kept the good momentum going.
“It will be a new experience, but really looking forward to it. Hopefully I’ll stay on top.”
One back was American Rickie Fowler who offset three front-nine bogeys with five birdies, including a pair near the close (Nos. 15 and 16) to sign for a 68, and move into the T2 group at 12-under par.
“Tomorrow is going to be tough,” said Fowler, who won this tournament in 2015.
“We’ve got a pretty jam-packed leaderboard with a lot of guys within a few shots of the lead. Someone is going to have to go out and earn it.”
Australians Ryan Fox – last week’s runner up in Ireland, and Scott Hend were also in the second-place group after matching cards of low-round 63s. Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick (64), Swede Alexander Bjork (67), and Marcel Siem (65) were the others in the T2 group.
Scot Russell Knox, who won last week’s Irish Open, continued his impressive play of late, carding a 66 on Saturday to sit just two off the pace at 11-under par. The Inverness native will certainly enjoy the home crowd advantage tomorrow at Gullane Golf Club.
“Winning your home Open is a massive goal. Other than winning a major, this is right up there with the tournament you really want to win the most,” said Knox. “I watched Rory [McIlroy] do it a couple of years ago in Ireland and I remember it well. The crowd were not rooting against me by any means but as I birdied 15 and went one ahead that was when the crowd thought ‘Oh no, Rory might not win.’
“Then he went on to hit the best shot he’s ever hit [to set up an eagle on the 72nd hole] and that was that.
“Winning is fun and I still have not come down from winning in Ireland. Confidence snowballs in a good and bad way and obviously I’m on a good wave at the moment. Hopefully I can keep riding it.”
Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton (70) and Aaron Rai (67) were tied with Knox at 11 under.
Lurking just three shots back was the field’s top-ranked player in Justin Rose. The 37-year old Englishman shot a bogey-free 67 on Saturday to move into the T11 group at 10-under par. South African Trevor Immelman (68), who continues to surprise everyone, and Belgian Thomas Pieters (64), among others, were tied with Rose.
One further back at 9-under par was American Luke List (69), the opening-day leader, along with compatriot Charley Hoffman (68).
SCOTTISH OPEN: TOP 10
1. Jens Dantorp -13 (-2)
2. Rickie Fowler -12 (-2)
2. Marcel Siem -12 (-5)
2. Alexander Bjork -12 (-3)
2. Matthew Fitzgerald -12 (-6)
2. Scott Hend -12 (-7)
2. Ryan Fox -12 (-7)
8. Aaron Rai -11 (-3)
8. Tyrrell Hatton -11 (E)
8. Russell Knox -11 (-4)
SCOTTISH OPEN: NOTABLES
11. Eddie Pepperell -10 (E)
11. Trevor Immelman -10 (-2)
11. Justin Rose -10 (-3)
11. Thomas Pieters -10 (-6)
18. Charley Hoffman -9 (-2)
18. Luke List -9 (-1)
27. Ian Poulter -8 (-1)
27. Haotong Li -8 (-1)
27. Kiradech Aphibarnrat -8 (-2)
34. Lee Westwood -7 (+2)
34. Patrick Reed -7 (-1)
34. Danny Willett -7 (-1)
47. Cameron Smith -5 (-1)
55. Graeme McDowell -4 (+1)