India’s Arjun Atwal three-putted the 18th as he was caught at the top of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open leaderboard ahead of the final round at Heritage Golf Club.
The 44 year old, chasing a fourth European Tour title almost a decade after winning his third in Malaysia, carded a third-round 68 to lie 13-under-par and was joined at the top of the leaderboard by South Africa’s Louis de Jager.
Having held a four-shot lead after a sparkling opening 62, Atwal saw his advantage trimmed to one after a second-round 70 but looked to be surging clear again after a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh saw him turn in 32.
However, he made only one gain on the back nine and his closing bogey left the door ajar for De Jager and the chasing pack. “I played solid all day except for a blip on the last hole which won’t bother me,” Atwal told the European Tour website.
“It did play harder today. “I’m really looking forward to Sunday. With the way I’m playing, I think I have a good shot at it. I’m really calm here but a bit tired. You mixed those two together and I think I’ll be OK on Sunday.”
De Jager, a three-time winner on the co-sanctioning Sunshine Tour, carded four birdies in a round of 67. Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines and South African Dylan Frittelli are a shot further back in third, with Romain Langasque, Justin Walters and Jose-Filipe Lima on 10 under.
England’s Laurie Canter slipped from second to ninth after a one-over-par 72, while pre-tournament favourite Louis Oosthuizen saw his challenge falter when he followed a hat-trick of birdies on the back nine with a double-bogey seven at the 14th en route to a 71 which left him seven under.