Kiwi Daniel Hillier fought back on day three to finish four shots back from the leader Jordan Smith heading into the final day of the European Tour’s 2021 ISPS HANDA World Invitational in Northern Ireland.
Hillier led the field going into moving day but his lead soon evaporated playing in the final group of the day.
He three-putted the first, found water on the third and put his tee shot in the sand on the fifth to turn in 3-over but holed out from 168 yards on the 11th for a spectacular eagle to get back in the mix at 10-under.
An approach to seven feet on the 16th then moved him to level par for the day and he parred the last for a 70 despite finding the water.
Hillier sits on 11-under, four shots behind Smith on 15-under and three shots behind David Horsey on 14-under.
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The Englishman Smith was a picture of consistency as he recorded a second blemish free round of the week at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.
After turning professional in 2014, he won the EuroPro Tour Order of Merit in 2015 and finished top of the European Challenge Tour Rankings 12 months later.
Since then he has been one of the European Tour’s most consistent performers and has now put himself in pole position for a return to the winner’s circle.
“I’ve done it before so I can do it again,” he said. “That’s one way of looking at it.
“I’ve been playing well around here for the two days that we’ve been here and I’m feeling good, the swing is feeling good, so we’ll see how it goes.
“Today we didn’t do too much wrong at all, the putter saved me quite a few times so hopefully it can do that tomorrow if needed to.”
Hillier will tee off again in the final group alongside Smith and Horsey at 11.45pm NZT Sunday with coverage beginning on Sky Sport 11 at 12.30am.