Jon Rahm has a mountain to climb if he is to win his home tournament for the third time in a row.
The world n ° 1 is six strokes behind the leader and Spanish compatriot Rafael Cabrera-Bello at the Acciona Open de España over 54 holes.
Rahm galloped to victory in 2018 and 2019, but looked visibly frustrated on Saturday in front of his home fans.
His first two laps of 63 and 67 put up well, but a third round of 72 (1-over) left him in need of a charge on Sunday.
Rahm was just a little behind all day as his corners were just a fraction of short and his putting let him down in an unusual way.
The 26-year-old bogeyed three before hitting a double at the fifth hole.
He recovered with two birdies to make the turn at 1, but his struggles continued on the last nine with back-to-back bogeys at 11 and 12.
He ended the day with a birdie after almost rolling on the green at 18, but will have to come down very low to really challenge Cabrera-Bello.
His third round score marks the first time he has ever patented anything other than the ’60s in his home championship.
Cabrera-Bello leads the standings at 17 under after signing for a sublime 64 (7 under) after opening the heats of 67 and 65.
“I got goosebumps at every hole,” the clubhouse manager told Sky Sports afterwards.
– The European tour (@EuropeanTour) October 9, 2021
It would be by far the most significant victory for the 37-year-old, who has won the European Tour three times.
He held the 54-hole lead six times in European Tour events, but never managed to secure the victory.
Cabrera-Bello only converted a 54-hole lead once on the Challenge Tour.
The very popular Spaniard made seven birdies in his third round on the par 71 course at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.
In the hunting peloton are the French Julien Guerrier and his Spanish compatriot Adri Arnaus at 15 years old.
English duo Jack Senior (under 14) and Richard Bland (under 12) continue their good form heading into the final round.
They both pulled three rounds in the ’60s and will need another low round to stop Cabrera-Bello.