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Endycott slips back with Frittelli leading in Bahrain

AP PHOTO

Harrison Endycott's challenge at the Bahrain Championship has gone in the wrong direction on 'moving day' as the Australian suffered a poor run-in at the Royal Golf Club.

When the 27-year-old Sydneysider holed a seven-footer to birdie the 11th hole on Saturday, he found himself just one off the summit on a crowded leaderboard and looked poised to challenge for the lead going into the final round.

Instead, a disappointing finale eventuated over the next six holes, effectively ruining the PGA Q-School winner's bid to lift a first European Tour title as he ended up with a one-over par 73.

It left Endycott on six-under for the tournament, now a yawning six shots behind the South African leader Dylan Frittelli, who's opened up a two-shot advantage over the field.

It all started going wrong for Endycott on the 12th hole, when his poor tee shot at the par-three went askew and his undercooked attempt to find the green with his second resulted in the ball trickling back down the slope again.

To cap his misery, he then missed a short bogey putt from four-and-a-half foot for a double, and he never rally recovered his poise thereafter, also bogeying the 15th and 16th, until he sank a six-foot birdie putt at the last to leave him tied for 11th place.

Frittelli, twice a winner on the Europe-based circuit in 2017 before he switched to the PGA Tour where he won the 2019 John Deere Classic in his rookie season, had a miserable 2023 season but looks rejuvenated with a first win in nearly five years in the offing.

"The main thing is just to be aggressive," he said. "One shot clear I'll try and make it two and if I'm two shots clear I'll try and make it three, that's the goal and my mindset tomorrow."

Frittelli carded five birdies and two bogeys to get to 12 under, two shots clear of countryman Ockie Strydom, with Swede Jesper Svensson a further shot back.Seven players are in a tie for fourth, five shots behind.

Endycott's compatriot David Micheluzzi had a 71 to sit at one under for the tournament in joint-45th place, while Jason Scrivener (74) is tied for 64th at two over and Haydn Barron (76) is 72nd at four over.