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Tyrrell Hatton moved into pole position to claim a third Rolex Series title at the BMW PGA Championship as the Englishman burst clear of a star-studded pack courtesy of a four under par 68 on day three at Wentworth Club.
The 28 year old, who turns 29 next Wednesday, had entered the weekend one shot off the pace set by Matthew Fitzpatrick and Shane Lowry but the halfway leaders both struggled to make any ground over the West Course and Hatton capitalised.
The four-time European Tour winner’s eagle three at the 12th hole was crucial as he built a three-stroke advantage on 14 under par heading into the final day of the third Rolex Series event of the 2020 Race to Dubai. The 2018 Ryder Cup player has already won on the other side of the Atlantic this year and could move into the top ten in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career with a home victory.
Joachim B. Hansen of Denmark and Frenchman Victor Perez were the closest contenders on 11 under, both having carded third round 70s at the prestigious Surrey venue, while David Horsey, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry and Patrick Reed were all four shots off the pace on 10 under.
English duo Eddie Pepperell and Ian Poulter shared eighth place on nine under par, while their countryman Jordan Smith recorded the second hole-in-one of the week – holing out with a nine iron on the second hole to add to David Howell’s ace at the 14th in round two.
Tyrrell Hatton: “It wasn’t easy out there and it was nice to finish with a birdie and shoot another round in the 60s and overall pretty happy with how I played.
“I’m obviously very happy to be in the position I’m in. You can’t win the tournament today. There’s a lot of golf still to be played tomorrow, so I’ve just got to go out there tomorrow and try my best.
“I’ve been in this position before and gone on to win tournaments. I’ve been in this position before and not won the tournament. It’s so hard to win tournaments in golf. When it’s your week, obviously everything falls into place. I’ve really enjoyed the week so far and I’m just hoping that I can kind of have a good day tomorrow and that’s all I can — I can only control myself and that’s what I’ve got to do.
“It this would be really special. It’s kind of a career goal for me to win this event. Being here as a five-year-old and now being inside the ropes is pretty cool. Hopefully I can do that tomorrow.
“Today felt like a slow day at times. That’s one of the things about Wentworth. You know you’re going to have opportunities towards the end of the round. You’ve just got to try and stay patient, which is obviously normally a struggle for me. I feel like I’ve done that pretty well so far this week, and tomorrow is going to be no different. Just got to stay patient and see how we get on.”
Joachim B Hansen: “My scrambling was good. I’m grinding it out there. I just needed a few more putts to drop today. Only one or two dropped shots, which is pretty good on this course.
“Obviously it’s a big tournament, big players here, as well, and a lot of World Ranking points and all that. It’s definitely going to take a little bit tomorrow.”
Victor Perez: “I felt like I definitely didn’t have my best today. To say the least, I struggled, but it’s good to find a couple good swings coming in and obviously the eagle on the last is icing on the cake I would say to finish the day and puts me in good position for tomorrow.
“We play for these moments where you have an opportunity to win. There’s so much we can do and tomorrow, and somebody could go out tomorrow and shoot 9-under and we won’t even sniff if. All I can do is play as hard as I can and try to put a good score out there and see where it takes me, but I can control myself.”
Patrick Reed: “Making the last putt on the last definitely made it a lot more satisfying because a lot of things that I’ve been kind of trying to fix or tweak in my golf swing really paid off today and I felt like I hit the ball kind of where I needed to on most of the holes. A couple, distance control here and there, was a hair off on some of the shots to the green, but besides that, I felt the ball-striking was there.
“I hit a lot of good putts and the putts weren’t going in so to make that one on the last definitely made me feel better and also got me a little closer to the lead and allows me to go hunting tomorrow.”
Full third round scores
202 T HATTON (ENG) 66 67 69,
205 J HANSEN (DEN) 68 67 70, V PEREZ (FRA) 69 66 70,
206 S LOWRY (IRL) 67 65 74, P REED (USA) 70 68 68, D HORSEY (ENG) 70 69 67, T FLEETWOOD (ENG) 71 68 67,
207 E PEPPERELL (ENG) 67 70 70, I POULTER (ENG) 69 70 68,
208 M FITZPATRICK (ENG) 67 65 76, M KAWAMURA (JPN) 70 69 69, P LARRAZABAL (ESP) 73 69 66,
209 A SULLIVAN (ENG) 71 69 69,
210 A ARNAUS (ESP) 66 70 74, S HEND (AUS) 68 69 73, A JOHNSTON (ENG) 68 71 71, J SMITH (ENG) 72 67 71, M KINHULT (SWE) 72 67 71, M KAYMER (GER) 73 68 69, R PARATORE (ITA) 73 69 68, S BROWN (ENG) 75 67 68,
211 R FOX (NZL) 68 70 73, R ROCK (ENG) 69 70 72, G HIGGO (RSA) 69 71 71, K BROBERG (SWE) 71 71 69, J WANG (KOR) 72 70 69,
212 G FORREST (SCO) 69 67 76, G GREEN (MAS) 67 71 74, M WALLACE (ENG) 69 71 72, L WESTWOOD (ENG) 70 71 71,
213 W ORMSBY (AUS) 68 71 74, S V?LIM?KI (FIN) 72 67 74, K APHIBARNRAT (THA) 71 70 72, R RAMSAY (SCO) 71 71 71, T OLESEN (DEN) 71 71 71, R FISHER (ENG) 72 72 69,
214 J GUERRIER (FRA) 72 67 75, J LAGERGREN (SWE) 69 72 73, B WIESBERGER (AUT) 70 72 72, S CROCKER (USA) 72 70 72, M BULLEN (ENG) 71 72 71, V DUBUISSON (FRA) 72 71 71, C BEZUIDENHOUT (RSA) 72 72 70,
215 J ROSE (ENG) 68 75 72, P HARRINGTON (IRL) 72 71 72, G MCDOWELL (NIR) 73 70 72, S SHARMA (IND) 73 70 72, M PAVON (FRA) 71 73 71, E VAN ROOYEN (RSA) 76 68 71,
216 D WILLETT (ENG) 71 71 74, T PIETERS (BEL) 72 71 73, T AIKEN (RSA) 75 68 73, O FISHER (ENG) 72 72 72,
217 M SCHWAB (AUT) 68 71 78, A LEVY (FRA) 72 68 77, S GALLACHER (SCO) 72 71 74, K SAMOOJA (FIN) 71 73 73,
218 R MACINTYRE (SCO) 73 68 77, T PULKKANEN (FIN) 71 73 74,
219 M SOUTHGATE (ENG) 70 73 76, T DETRY (BEL) 72 71 76, N ELVIRA (ESP) 74 69 76, F ZANOTTI (PAR) 71 73 75,
220 D HOWELL (ENG) 72 68 80, R LANGASQUE (FRA) 71 72 77, S KJELDSEN (DEN) 73 71 76,
221 J STALTER (FRA) 76 68 77,