BMW PGA: Tyrrell Hatton opens up three-shot lead after round three at Wentworth

Tyrrell Hatton gained control of the BMW PGA Championship as overnight-leaders Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick both faltered on day three at Wentworth.

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BMW PGA Championship

Hatton’s resolute three-under 69 was enough to earn him a three-shot lead to take into the final round, with Lowry and Fitzpatrick a combined six over for the round as Joachim B Hansen and Victor Perez moved into second place despite both being unable to break 70.

Tommy Fleetwood enjoyed a late birdie blitz and made a great par save at the last after finding water, closing on 10 under along with fellow Englishman David Horsey and Race to Dubai leader, Patrick Reed, while Ian Poulter and Eddie Pepperell will both look to put early pressure on the leaders as they moved smoothly to nine under par.

Hatton will be the man to catch on the final day, the four-time European Tour winner staying patient when birdies were hard to come by over the first half of his round, but he gave himself a big injection of confidence with an eagle at the 12th, drilling his second to 20 feet and holing the putt for a three.

He followed that with a birdie at the 13th, although he gave one shot back after a wayward drive at 15 before an excellent up-and-down from the greenside bunker at the last resulted in his third birdie of the day which ensured he would sleep on a commanding 54-hole lead.

Hansen will have high hopes of emulating fellow Dane, namesake and two-time BMW PGA champion Anders after he birdied two of the last three holes to salvage a 70 and close on 11 under, a score which proved enough to get him into Sunday’s final group.

Perez was one over for the day at the turn, but a birdie at the 12th lifted his spirits and, after a good run of pars, he smote a delightful second to inside 10 feet at the last and rolled in a confident putt for eagle, a round of 70, and a tie with Hansen on 11 under.

Lowry played a solid, if cautious, front-nine with a lone birdie at the fourth, but his title hopes began to slip at the tough ninth as he blazed his drive way right, pitched back to the fairway from the trees, came up short of the green with his third and needed three more to get down.

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The Open champion clawed one back at the 12th, but he blocked a wedge into a bunker at 16 and bogeyed, and he made a mess of the last as well, almost chunking his third into the water before a clumsy chip and tentative par putt all added up to another scrappy six on his card.

Lowry’s 74 dropped him into a share of fourth with Horsey, who bolted home in 32 to card a 67 which was matched by Fleetwood when he did well to get up and down from the drop zone at the last and stay at 10 under par.

Reed was a model of composure throughout the third day and was the only player to record a bogey-free round, picking up two birdies on the front-nine before following nine straight pars with a brilliant eagle at the last which closed out back-to-back 68s.

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Poulter’s bogey at the first was his only blemish, the veteran hitting back with five birdies in a 68 which hauled him to within five of the leader along with Pepperell, who recovered from three bogeys in four holes around the turn to birdie 13 and 16 before nailing a 12-foot putt for eagle at the last.

Fitzpatrick had hit the headlines with some forthright Friday comments on Bryson DeChambeau’s power strategy, in which he claimed the American’s tactics were “making a mockery of golf”.

The widespread response to his views perhaps affected his focus as he managed only one birdie at the 16th, by which time he had three bogeys on his card as well as a double-bogey six at the 11th.

The Sheffield man signed for a 76 that saw him slip six shots off the pace on eight under, while Jordan Smith produced the shot of the day with the second ace of the tournament, holing a nine-iron at the 139-yard second before going on to fire a 71 – six under for the week.

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