The 26-year-old was playing just his second European Tour event after finishing second on The Challenge Tour and set the clubhouse target at 10-under before the final group had teed off.
“You never see that kind of thing coming,” he said. “It was just one of those days when I was feeling good on the greens. I was very good from 10 feet and less, so as I had quite a lot of iron shots that went into that zone, I had many opportunities. I saw it coming maybe when I birdied 10 from pretty far away, so I just tried to keep that momentum.”
The Frenchman was a two-time winner on The Challenge Tour last season and looked on course to go out in the late groups on Saturday before three dropped shots in the last three holes of his second round derailed his progress. But birdies on the third, fifth, sixth, seventh, 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th and 16th on ‘moving day’ got him right into contention.
“Challenge Tour is like university and we’re going to the real job now,” said Gros. “So I’m out of university and now my first mission is pretty good at the moment, but there’s still 25 percent of the job to be done. But getting into sort of contention – because we don’t know what the others will do – in my first tournament is a really good feeling. I was not feeling that good coming to this event, so it’s a very good feeling.”
Defending champion Branden Grace was then at six-under after a 66 that got his campaign back on track, while fellow South African Dylan Frittelli was in the clubhouse at eight-under with a 66 of his own.
Another Frenchman Thomas Linard, who finished ninth on The Challenge Tour in 2015, was at six-under after a 67.
With reporting from The European Tour