Doha, 29 October 2023 - Jorge Campillo led by one shot before the third round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters was suspended because of fading light on Saturday, with the former champion having just the 18th hole left to play.
The 2020 winner had to return to the course early on day three to finish off his second round, carding four birdies in eight holes to sign for a 65. And the Spaniard continued his fine form in round three, making six birdies and no bogeys in his first 17 holes to get to 16 under par before the hooter sounded at 4.47pm.
Finn Sami Valimaki was his nearest challenger on 15 under after finishing his third-round 67 with a birdie at the 18th in near-darkness.
Scottish Ryder Cup star Robert MacIntyre was a single shot further back with two holes of his round still to go.
His countryman Scott Jamieson was among those another stroke back after firing eight birdies in his final ten holes on Saturday to give his chances of keeping his DP World Tour card an enormous boost.
Jamieson started the week 119th on the Race to Dubai Rankings, needing a good result to squeeze into the top 116.
“Off to a slow start again, much like the second round, but Richie, my caddie, was brilliant,” said Jamieson. “He was like ‘look, you’ve got to keep going’ and, sure enough, I holed a nice putt (from 30 feet) on nine and started feeling a little better about myself.”
Campillo started the day four shots off the lead with eight holes of his second round to complete and reeled off four birdies to sit on ten under par at the halfway stage of the tournament. With Daniel Hillier also picking up four birdies in the morning to reach 14 under after two rounds, Campillo remained four strokes back as he got his third round under way.
But he soon set about closing the gap, taking advantage of the par-five first for the third round in succession before adding further birdies at the fifth, seventh and eighth to open up a two-shot lead at the summit.
Campillo made a two-putt birdie on the long tenth to move to 15 under before breaking a run of five successive pars with a birdie at the 16th, having gone agonisingly close to holing his eagle try from almost 80 feet. He gave himself another outside chance at the par-three 17th but had to settle for a par there, and as he was tapping in, the hooter sounded, meaning his group could not start the 18th.
Campillo will return today bidding to win on the European tour for a fourth time, for the second time this year after the Kenya Open in March and for the second time at the Qatar Masters, after 2020.
Valimaki turned in 33 courtesy of three front-nine birdies before dropping his first shot of the week at the 11th. But he bounced straight back, making gains at the 12th, 13th and 18th to get to 15 under.
Valimaki said: “I actually got a really good read (on the 18th). I saw the line and made a really good putt. I’ll try to win the tournament, it has been a long time, so hopefully I’ll get back in the circle. I have tomorrow to go and then two more weeks. I need to get one win to make it to the PGA Tour. That’s my goal.”
Play will resume at 7:40am today, with the final round being played under a two-tee start.