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Ballester Opens Two-Shot Advantage Ahead of Final Round in Estonia

Jose Luis Ballester (ESP) has opened a two-shot lead with just 18 holes to play in the 2023 European Amateur Championship.


Playing in the final group after rounds of 62 (-10) and 66 (-6), the Spaniard continued his excellent form from the get go on Day 3.


Round 3 Highlights: 2023 European Amateur Championship


With a birdie on the first and a lip-out ffor eagle on the par-5 third, Ballester opened a gap to his playing partners, Tiger Christensen (GER) and James Ashfield (WAL), early-on. 


The Arizona State Sun Devil would only relinquish the lead for a few minutes to college teammate, Michael Mjaaseth (NOR), after the Norwegion opened his round with five birdies in the space of seven holes.

A one-under-par back-nine wasn't enough for Mjaaseth to keep up with Ballester, who went two better on the inward nine thanks to birdies on 17 and 18 to reach -22.


"I was under control all day." Said Ballester after his second consecutive 66 (-6). "My putting was really good, I missed some putts on the back-nine. I was hitting pretty much all my lines but I left a couple short."


"Tomorrow I'm going to have the same mindset just come out here, have fun and be patient. I'm super excited for tomorrow, the adrenalise is going to be there so it's going to help me be in the moment and not get tired."


Ballester and Mjaaseth play together in the final group on Saturday alongisde the Netherland's Jack Ingham, who was the only other player to reach the -20 mark in Round 3. The Dutch player signed for the lowest round of the day from the top-10, a seven-under-par 65, to tie Mjaaseth.


"I had an amazing start, four-under after four and five-under after seven." Said Ingham. "I then struggled to make some birdies around the turn but eventually they came at the end. I'm just going to give myself a chance and hope for the best tomorrow."


12 players remain within just five shots of the lead. Daniel Rodrigues (POR), Tiger Christensen (GER) and Mads Laage (DEN) are the closest of the chasing pack on -18. The three players will start the final round together four shots behind Ballester.


Day 3 at Pärnu Bay Golf Links was the first without a weather delay, although it was also the day with the strongest winds. The low-scoring continued nonetheless, with the three-round cut being an extraordinary -9.


65 players were able to shoot nine-under-par or better and will contest Saturday's final round.