England’s Sam Little, a lowly 187th on this year’s European Tour money list, charged from 50th place to 12th with a four-under-par outward half of 32 in the third round of the SAS Masters in Malmo today.
While pre-tournament favourite Henrik Stenson was having a shocker – six bogeys in the first eight holes left the world number seven 77th and joint last of those who survived the halfway cut – Little birdied the first, sixth, eighth and ninth.
That took him to three under par, but that was still seven adrift of overnight leader Ricardo Gonzalez, who went into the day one ahead of England’s Lee Slattery.
As the leaders set off Slattery was caught out by the shortest par four on the longest course in European Tour history.
His pitch to the 394-yard second at Barseback landed less than six inches from the flag and drew applause, but the ball then spun 25 feet away and he three-putted to slip to eight under.
Gonzalez had done well to remain 10 under on the first, chipping from thick rough to within three feet of the cup, and also parred the second.
Stenson’s bogey six on the ninth completed a miserable seven-over front nine of 43, but he was at least no longer last. He was seven over and Welshman Bradley Dredge and South Africa’s Branden Grace both slumped to nine over.
Gonzalez’s two-stroke lead became one when he bogeyed the short fourth and on the 448-yard sixth he dropped another shot after missing the green and then flopping his chip into the bunker between him and the hole.
Slattery had fired in a superb approach to three feet there and making the birdie took him back into the lead on the opening day thanks to a six-under 67.
Scot Richie Ramsay, joint third overnight, also bogeyed the sixth and not just fell four behind at five under, but also slipped to joint fifth spot. Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and Swede Oskar Henningsson, winner of the qualifying school last November, were third.