NI Open: Scott Henry and Victor Perez share the lead at Galgorm Castle as Cormac Sharvin slips down the field

Victor Perez
Victor Perez holds a share of the lead going into the final round at Galgorm Castle

Scott Henry and Victor Perez share the lead going into the final round of the Northern Ireland Open.

Scotland's Henry fired a brilliant seven-under par 64 to set the pace on 16-under-par but Frenchman Perez joined him late on after signing for a 65.

Denmark's Mark Flindt Haastrup and Stuart Manley of Wales are a shot further back in a tie for third place.

Ardglass man Cormac Sharvin began the day one shot off the pace but a late bogey saw him slip back to 10-under.

Henry finished his third round with back-to-back birdies to take the clubhouse lead, with a solitary bogey on the par-five 10th hole the only blemish on the Glaswegian's scorecard.

But Perez also picked up two shots over the closing two holes to join Henry on 16-under and just ahead of Haastrup and Manley of Wales, with overnight leader Minkyu Kim a further two shots adrift in fifth place.

NI Open highlights: Two-way tie at the top

Scottish pair Calum Hill and Ross Kellett are joint sixth on 12-under par and are also in contention ahead of the final round.

Sharvin made the turn on 12-under-par after a strong front nine performance but consecutive bogeys on the 10th and 11th were followed by another dropped shot on the 16th as he drifted out of contention although the 25-year-old birdied the 18th to hold a share of eighth place with 18 holes remaining.

"I can't afford to get frustrated," said Sharvin after his round.

"I stayed really patient and had some great up and downs. Although I missed a couple of short putts, I holed a lot of good putts.

"A lot of the stuff I've been working on is to limit the poor shots and mistakes. Sometimes these round you have to work harder.

"Yesterday was easier when I had very good control of the golf ball. Today I didn't have that control and tried to manage my way around.

"That happens in golf, it's just how you bounce back tomorrow. We all know in this game that anything can happen. If you play well there is a low one out there. Hopefully that will be me tomorrow, we'll see."

Mark Flindt Haastrup and Stuart Manley
Mark Flindt Haastrup (left) and Stuart Manley (right) hold a share of third place going into the final round

Ballymena's Dermot McElroy and Bangor's Jonathan Caldwell are both on eight-under at Galgorm Castle.

McElroy's second consecutive round of 67 featured a run of four birdies in five holes around the turn as he climbed seven spots into a share of 15th place alongside Caldwell, who had to settle for a level-par 71 that featured four bogeys and a double-bogey.

Henry's best finish of the season came at the Euram Bank Open in Austria last month when he tied for fifth place but the Scot will earn his biggest pay cheque of the season if he can claim the £32,000 first prize on Sunday.

Perez secured his place in the final pairing alongside Henry after he carded another impressive round of 65 to move clear of Haastrup and Manley, who is in sixth place in the end-of-season Road to Ras Al Khaimah rankings on the Challenge Tour.

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