Matthieu Pavon holds Spanish Open lead ahead of final round

ESPN News ServicesSports News ReporterOct 14, 2023, 03:31 PM ET2 Minute Read

MADRID — Matthieu Pavon maintains his lead at the Spanish Open on Saturday, heading into the final round with a 2-stroke advantage.

Ranked third globally, Jon Rahm (67) is currently tied for 34th place and trails by 9 shots as he faces challenges defending his title from last year, when Pavon finished as the runner-up.

Pavon displayed an impressive performance with a 5-under 66, including six birdies and one bogey, at the renowned Club de Campo Villa in Madrid. He has solidified his overall lead after the end of the third round, taking his score to 16 under after 54 holes. The French golfer has maintained his lead since his remarkable opening round of 63 and is now in pursuit of his first European Tour victory.

“The lesson I learned from last year is that beating Jon Rahm is no easy task. He defeated me by six shots, and I thought I had an outstanding week,” Pavon stated. “This time, I’m simply focused on being myself. Interestingly, I have some Spanish family roots, with my grandfather also hailing from Madrid. The stars seem to align, and I couldn’t be happier to be here.”

England’s Nathan Kimsey (65) emerges as Pavon’s toughest competitor in second place. Meanwhile, Spain’s Alfredo Garcia-Heredia (68), the French duo of Mike Lorenzo-Vera (68) and Romain Langasque (66), along with South African Zander Lombard (65), are all tied for third place, trailing Pavon by four shots.

Rahm, who has triumphed in three out of the past four Spanish Opens, including last year’s victory that matched Seve Ballesteros’ record, finds himself struggling this time around. He enters this tournament following his participation in the Ryder Cup, where he played a crucial role in Europe’s victory over the United States two weeks ago at Marco Simone in Italy.

“Tomorrow, I’ll go out there and give it my all, aiming for the lowest possible score. That’s the least I can expect from myself,” Rahm affirmed. “Let’s see if I can have a fantastic Sunday to make it an exciting competition.”

Information from The Associated Press was utilized in the creation of this report.


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