Words by BGB Editorial
A late birdie flourish send Ross McGowan into a share of the lead alongside Laurie Canter to raise the prospect of an exciting climax to the Italian Open on Sunday.

“A win would probably change the outlook for the rest of the year, next year and hopefully for the next few years after that.”

Ross McGowan

McGowan ended his round with three straight birdies to sign for a 67 and join fellow Englishman Canter – who also left his scoring until late en route to a 69 – on 19-under par, three shots clear of South African Dean Burmester who remained in touch with a 68.

“A win would probably change the outlook for the rest of the year, next year and hopefully for the next few years after that,” said McGowan who is still seeking a breakthrough Tour title, and has only one top-ten on his career resume. “I’m not getting any younger so it would be quite handy to win one nice and early.

“Definitely my putting has been my best strength this week. It’s helped me in the first two rounds when I hit maybe six fairways. Even today I hit more fairways but not enough, but I rolled a few nice ones in – a couple of 30 footers – and that kept the score going.”

Like McGowan, Canter has also been a regular at the qualifying school over recent times, but he has shown an uptick in form since lockdown, and can boast three top-ten finishes in his last eight starts.

“I definitely feel confident I can go out and stick to what I’m doing,” said Canter, who opened up this week with a stunning 60. “I don’t know if that will be good enough.

“I have a feeling tomorrow a few people a couple of shots back will pull the anchor up and go for it and somebody’s going to go low tomorrow, so Ross and I and those around us will have to keep going forward to be up there. I like how I feel out there so we’ll see how I feel then.”

Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts (66) and Germany’s Sebastian Heisele (66) are tied for fourth on 16-under, two shots clear of Spain’s Adri Arnaus (67) and Finn Tapio Pulkkanen (67).