(Reuters) – Resurgent Bernd Wiesberger set his sights on a sixth European Tour title when he took a two-shot lead over South African Erik van Rooyen after the third round of the Scottish Open on Saturday.
The big Austrian carded six-under-par 65 at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick after starting the day tied for the lead with South African Van Rooyen and Englishman Lee Slattery.
“I’m pretty confident with my ball-striking,” Wiesberger told Golf Channel after posting a 20-under 193 total.
After missing seven months last year with a wrist injury, Wiesberger has returned with a vengeance in 2019, winning the Made in Denmark tournament in late May and finishing equal second at last week’s Irish Open.
He made a quiet start on Saturday, before notching up four birdies in five holes from the fifth to take command.
“Towards the turn we found a couple of shots and then it was kind of smooth sailing,” he said.
“A couple of wayward shots here and there but all in all hit a lot of greens and didn’t get in too much trouble.”
A three-putt bogey at the 17th hole was the lone blemish on Wiesberger’s card.
He finished in style with birdie at the par-four 18th after receiving a favorable ruling granting him line-of-sight relief from a TV booth. He then hoisted his approach shot over a tree to four feet.
“I’m going to have a low energy evening tonight and just warm up (on Sunday) and go through the process we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks,” he said of his approach to the final round.
Van Rooyen sank a long birdie putt at the 17th hole and shot 67 to hold second place on 18 under.
Italian Nino Bertasio (67) and Frenchman Romain Langasque (65) were four strokes behind in a tie for third.
Slattery carded 70 to slip five shots behind, in equal fifth.
Rory McIlroy shot a 68 that left him nine strokes off the pace.
The top three finishers on Sunday not already exempt to next week’s British Open will qualify to play at Royal Portrush.
Wiesberger, Van Rooyen and Langasque are already exempt, but Bertasio is not.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Clare Fallon)