Rabat, Morocco: Ross McGowan rode on another strong finish to fire his second successive 71 to take a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Mena Golf Tour’s Royal Golf Dar Es Salam Open on Wednesday.
The Englishman made the turn at one over, but left the best for last as he picked up three birdies in his last six holes to move top of the leaderboard at four-under 142. France’s Edouard Espana occupied solo second on 144, with Germany’s Sebastian Heisele, who shot a 67 — the best round of the tournament so far — and Spain’s Carlos Balmaseda sitting a shot further back.
Overnight leader Faycal Serghini of Morocco slipped to tied seventh after a five-over 78,
“I played much better than I did in the first round and it was less scrappy,” said McGowan, who won the Mena Tour’s 2012 Abu Dhabi Golf Citizen Open by a record six-shot margin.
“I may have left some shots out there, but I hit lots of good putts on the line I wanted to hit them, some of them went in, some didn’t. So I had a couple of close ones,” added the 31-year-old from Basildon, Essex.
“I finished well again, making three birdies on the last six holes, which was encouraging. Hopefully I can make a strong start [in the final round] and keep the momentum going all the way through.”
Unlike McGowan’s round, a bogey-double bogey finish prevented defending champion Zane Scotland from making a charge up the leaderboard. A second round three-over 76 meant he finished the day at two-over 148 and in a tie for 10th.
“I just didn’t finish well. I have not been striking the ball well and it’s reflecting in the scores,” said Scotland, whose second round contained four birdies, three bogeys and two double bogeys.
Overnight leader Serghini was disappointed with his efforts on a cloudy, windy day when only 11 players broke par.
“I just played terrible golf, simple as that. I three-putted four times, which was quite bad, and made just two birdies, including one on the last,” said the experienced Moroccan, who finished runner-up to England’s Joshua White in the Royal Golf D’Anfa Open in Mohammedia last week.
Ayoub Lguirati gave the home crowd something to cheer when he moved clear at the top of the amateur division thanks to a superb second round of 70 took him to level par for the tournament, six shots ahead of England’s James Yeomans.