Nilsson leads by two

Christian Nilsson consolidated his lead at the top of the Saint-Omer Open leaderboard after carding a solid one-under-par 70 in the third round on Saturday.

The Swede, who equalled the course record with a stunning seven-under 64 on Friday, leads Englishman Robert Coles and Francois Delamontagne, who shot 66 and 67 respectively, by two shots going into tomorrow's final round.

That lead could have been even greater had he not double-bogeyed the penultimate hole, but a nine-foot putt on the 18th ensured his third birdie of the day and restored his two-shot advantage.

Michael Hoey is the top-placed Irish player, tied for 24th on four-over-par.

Belgian Nicola Vanhootegem and Wales' Liam Bond are the only other players bettering par on one under after rounds of 69 and 70 respectively.

Nilsson, 29, parred every hole on the front nine and then accelerated on the way back, firing back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th.

He had not dropped a shot for 34 holes until the par-three 17th ended that run, but he finished on a high to sit four under going into the final round.

"I was really happy to finish like that after what happened on the 17th," said Nilsson, who is chasing his first European Tour win.

"I had a long, tough putt, which I overhit and had to chip back but I needed to let it go, forget about it and I did.

"I'm feeling really good. My game from tee to green was great.

"Tomorrow is going to be a similar experience to today so hopefully I'm prepared for it."

Chasing Nilsson on Sunday will be Coles, who posted his best round of the season - and the day's best score - to be tied for second.

The 35-year-old has been off his game of late but found a rich vein of form on the front nine here, where he hit five birdies.

A double-bogey at the par-four 12th halted his rise up the leaderboard but he picked up two more birdies on the 13th and 17th to be well placed for the final round.

"I just got on a little run," said Coles. "There are some tricky holes but there are some where you can hit it quite close.

"I haven't really played very well this year. I've struggled with the putter and when that was better my irons weren't great so it's been very mixed.

"But today I managed to bring it all together."

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