(Reuters) – Frenchman Victor Perez and England’s Matthew Southgate upstaged the big names, jumping two strokes clear after the third round at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland on Saturday.
Neither player has won on the European Tour, but they set the stage for a possible breakthrough with fine performances in benign conditions in an event played on three courses.
Perez carded a nine-birdie eight-under-par 64 at Kingsbarns and Southgate shot 65 at nearby St Andrews.
They will start Sunday’s final round at 20-under 196 with a two-shot lead over England’s Paul Waring, who shot a 65 at Carnoustie to jump into third place on 18-under.
American Tony Finau and Swede Joakim Lagergren are three shots behind, while former world number one Luke Donald jumped into contention by pitching in for eagle from 53 yards at the 18th at St Andrews.
The effort left the Englishman four shots behind.
“I’ve certainly been putting in some time in my game and it’s nice to see some results finally,” said Donald, who has not won on the European Tour since 2012.
While Donald surged into contention with his 64, Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy managed only a pedestrian 70 at St Andrews to slip 10 shots off the pace.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)