Warren Battles Driving Rain To Muscle His Way To Share Austrian Open Lead

Marc Warren superbly battled driving rain to be just a round shy of ending a six-year winless and becoming a rare ‘no caddy’ Tour winner in sharing the lead at the Austrian Open near Vienna.

Warren, 39 added a third round two-under par 70 and share the lead with little-known German Nicola Von Dellingshausen (70) at 11-under par in the very wet and difficult conditions on the Diamond Resort course.

The rain was so heavy play had to be halted to allow greens staff to clear away water.

Fellow Scot Connor Syme celebrated his 25th birthday with a bogey-free 69 to be sharing third place with two others at 10-under par as the former Crail Battle Trophy champ (can you leave Crail mention, please) looks to go one better after being runner-up two years ago in Austria.

Peebles Craig Howie struggled in the conditions and in only his second main Tour event posting a 74 to be in a share of ninth place at nine-under but still very much in the victory mix.

Warren is looking for a first taste of success since capturing a third Tour title in the 2014 Made in Denmark, and a victory that helped lift the proud Scot a career high of 64th in the world.

However, in climbing the Austrian hills there was now musical accompaniment for the Scot who has tumbled to be now the 1,258th ranked and with just nine top-10s in Warren’s ensuing 142 Tour events.

Warren’s third round got off to a poor start with an opening hole bogey but he regrouped picking-up three birdies from his third to sixth hole ahead of dropping a second for the ninth.

Marc Warren – Looking all on his own with no caddy and social distancing on route to sharing the lead on day three of the Austrian Open. (Photo – European Tour)

Warren then sandwiched a 15th hole birdie, and to be now four-under at the hole, in between eight inward half pars for his 70.

And making it tough for Warren in the sometimes in the appalling weather was having to do his own caddying as long-time caddy, Ken Herring was delayed in obtaining his mandatory COVID-19 test results.

Warren said: “I am probably as wet coming off today as I was yesterday, but with rain today instead of sweat.  It made for incredibly different conditions, teeing off it was the heaviest rain we’d had all day.

“It was a grind from the start, so it was good to get round in under par.

“We were thinking if the rain carried on like that we wouldn’t be out there much longer, but the golf course held up incredibly well. I didn’t see one bit of water on the greens.

“From that standpoint we were in no danger of coming off. Around the turn, it was apparent it was going to be a day where you just had to be there and keep your name on the leader-board.

“I was just playing for pars, playing sensible golf and waited for the birdies instead of trying to go and get them. A couple of good short irons set up two good chances on three and four. It was nice to get a couple of birdies early on.

“But as the day went on, everything got wetter and wetter, it’s tough to keep the clubs dry as you’re trying to do all that and concentrate on hitting the shot as well.

“So, it was a long day but it was a good birdie on 15, I was pleased to be one under on the last four.”

And while nine others inside the top-10, and including Syme, have yet to win on the main Tour, Warren reckons that could be a strong key later today.

He said: I know what to expect and know what it will take to win.  Some guys haven’t won before and they might not know what to expect.

“I’m pretty comfortable with the situation I’m in. Hopefully a good front nine tomorrow and I’ll be in with a chance to win.”

Syme was runner-up on the same course at the 2018 Shock Clock Masters and naturally is looking to go one better later this year.

He said: “It was a brilliant birthday for sure. When we were going down the first, I don’t think we were too optimistic about finishing the round to be honest it was so wet, but it did definitely die down a little bit. It was persistent rain all day, so I was very delighted with my score.

“Myself and my caddie worked well together. It was definitely an advantage having a caddie because I was putting him through a lot of work trying to keep everything dry, covering the golf ball before I was ready to hit, and even then I felt a couple of times the ball still slid off the clubface, so I hate to think if I didn’t have my caddie how difficult it would have been.

“I’ll be in my room playing ‘Xbox’ tonight and catching up on messages.

“I’ll chill out. I knew I’d be away for my birthday so I’ll catch up with my family when I get back, which will be nice, but another day on the job tomorrow.”

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