SAM PIGOTT is well placed for his best finish of the season after storming to the top of the leaderboard at The China Fleet International Open.
Pigott, attached to West Malling GC, has managed five top 20 finishes on the 2004 PGA EuroPro Tour, but is now just 18 holes away from his maiden victory of the year.
Having hit a six-under-par round of 66 to move to ten-under-par for the tournament, Pigott leads Richard Sadler by a single stroke in Saltash, Cornwall.
Six birdies were the catalyst for the round as he battled against the strong winds in his attempts to emulate his 2003 win at Tudor Park.
Sadler also hit six birdies, but the former Nike Tour player who is back in the pro game after a break also struck a bogey to drop down a place after being the joint overnight leader.
PGA Regional qualifier Barry Austin (Teign Valley) fired the round of the day with a 65 to take full advantage of his first tournament of the year and he is in third place with seven-under-par after a level opening round.
With seven further players, namely South African Michiel Bothma, Matthew Griffiths (Woodlake Park), Ciaran McMonagle (Dunfanghy GC), Mark Smith (Erewash Valley), Tim Rice (Limerick), Andrew Willey (Nottm City/Tiny Dog Records) and Gordon Sherry (Kilmarnock Brassie) all within touching distance of the lead an exciting final day is in the offing for the 55 players who made the three-over-par cut.