On a day when the golfing gods gave up birdies a little more liberally than they did earlier in the week, Branden Grace carded a three-under-par 67 on Saturday to move inside the top 10 of the Genesis Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick.
Grace is playing in the tournament, co-sanctioned for the first time by the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, thanks to a stay of a suspension by the DP World Tour. He was one of 24 players of the 72 who made the cut to sign for an under-par total, and his four birdies and a bogey gave him the joint second-best round of the day.
At two-under for the tournament, he was five shots off the lead which was held by Xander Schauffele. The American started the day four shots off the lead but three birdies through his opening 11 holes put him in share and when he picked up another three gains in four holes from the 13th, he led by four.
A bogey-bogey finish took some of the gloss off his round but Schauffele will head into day four at seven-under as he looks for a first Rolex Series win.
Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain is already a Rolex Series champion having won this event in 2017 and he was the closest challenger at five-under, a shot clear of England’s Jordan Smith and American duo Ryan Palmer and Jordan Spieth.
Schauffele arrived in Scotland as a man in form having won his last start on the PGA Tour at the Travelers Championship after a run of four consecutive top-20 finishes.
Grace also has form going his way now, heading into next week’s Open Championship, and, added to his proven ability to go low in majors, he is looking in good shape ahead of the final major of the year at St Andrews.
Behind Grace, Dean Burmester was solid with a level-par 70 taking him to a share of 21st on level-par for the tournament. Thriston Lawrence had a one-over 71 and was on one-over in a share of 28th. Dylan Frittelli also made the cut, and he carded a third-round one-under 69 to be two-over in 35th. Christiaan Bezuidenhout signed for a level-par 70 and was on three-over in a share of 44th.