BALLYMENA, Northern Ireland (AP) — English duo Jordan Smith and David Horsey will go head to head in the final round of the World Invitational as they both look to end long winless runs in Northern Ireland.
Smith claimed his first and only victory on the European Tour four years and one day ago in Germany, and a bogey-free round of 65 in Ballymena on Saturday moved him to 15 under and in pole position to win a second title.
For Horsey, it is nearly six years since he claimed his fourth tour victory at the Made in Denmark, and he went one shot better than Smith to sit just one back with 18 holes to play.
Smith carded a bogey-free 62 on day one at Galgorm Castle to set the early pace and while he could not maintain that scoring in round two at Massereene, the return to the event’s primary course clearly suited him as he combined birdies at the first, second, ninth, 13th and last with 20-foot par saves at the third and fifth to climb back to the summit.
Horsey had been bogey-free over days one and two and while he dropped his only shot of the week so far on the sixth, an excellent putting performance helped him secure birdies on the second, seventh, 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th and last.
New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier was at 11 under, a shot clear of Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura and Dutchman Darius Van Driel.
In the women’s event, Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn signed for a 66 to surge up the leaderboard and share top spot at 13 under with Americans Jennifer Kupcho and Emma Talley.
After eagling the third, Pajaree’s momentum stalled on the front nine but she came home in 30 with six birdies, making five in a row from the ninth.
Overnight leader Talley had to fight back from a double bogey after finding the water at the ninth to sign for a par 73, and admitted she found it strange playing alongside her boyfriend, who is Kupcho’s caddie.
“It was weird, I honestly didn’t like it,” she said. “Now I know what to expect, so I feel a lot better about doing it tomorrow.”
Kupcho birdied her last two holes in a 70 to get into a share of the lead.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports