Ewen Ferguson has third DP World Tour title in sights with share of lead in France
Smith held a three-shot advantage after 36 holes but could only add a third round of 70 at Le Golf National, carding five birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on the seventh.
“I just didn’t hit as many shots close and didn’t hole as many putts,” said Smith, who had made nine birdies in his second round of 64. “I had one bad hole and the putts just didn’t drop but hopefully they will tomorrow.
“If you had offered me a share of the 54-hole lead at the start of the week I would have bitten your hand off so I’m excited for tomorrow, it’s going to be good fun. It’s nice to be in that situation.”
Ferguson holed from 70 feet on the 13th for one of his five birdies in a second consecutive 67 as he seeks to win a third DP World Tour title.
“Being in the position we were in, challenging for the lead, I think that brings a different kind of pressure,” he said. “Because there was less wind they pushed a few tees back and made a few of the holes play a bit longer, but my iron play is usually pretty good so I knew I could deal with it.
“Playing with Smithy and Rasmus (Hojgaard) I was just trying to hold on to Jordan all the way round. I felt like I did that quite well and tomorrow, same again, hopefully I can heat the putter up and get them all dropping.”
Japan’s Kazuki Higa is a shot off the lead after carding an eagle and four birdies in a flawless 65, with Germany’s Yannik Paul a further stroke back after a 67.
Hojgaard was just two shots off the lead after making his fifth birdie of the day on the 14th, but hit two balls into the water on the next to run up a quadruple-bogey eight and ended the day five behind the leading pair.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.