Germany’s Marcel Siem extended his Trophee Hassan II lead to four shots on Saturday as a third round 69 also kept alive his hopes of making a maiden Masters appearance in two weeks time.
The 32-year-old Siem, who needs to win to climb into the world’s top 50 and earn a ticket to Augusta, finished the day on 15-under, a round boosted by four birdies in six holes around the turn at the Golf du Palais Royal.
Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal, 2011 champion David Horsey of England and Finland’s Mikko Ilonen were all grouped in second place.
After Siem had bogeyed the first, Horsey and Ilonen joined the German in a share of the lead, but once the leader had hit two long birdie putts at the seventh and ninth to turn one ahead, his rivals struggled to stay in touch.
Siem extended his lead with a birdie at the long 10th, before striking his tee shot to within a foot of the 12th pin.
“I had to hole a few big putts just to stay ahead and then I managed to pull away a little bit,” Siem said.
“Fifteen and 17 were disappointing because you are really looking to pick up a couple of shots there, but I managed to give one away,” he said. “There was pressure there, so it was great to make a few putts and pick up four in six holes. It is very nice to have the gap back for the start of the final round tomorrow [Sunday]. I am pretty confident at the moment, so I know the swing is there when I trust it and just let it go. That will be very important.”