Tyrrell Hatton moved into pole position to win the BMW PGA Championship courtesy of a three-under-par 69 on day three at Wentworth.
The 28-year-old from Buckinghamshire 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 par-five 12th, and a sand save birdie at the last, were crucial as he built a three-stroke advantage on 14 under par heading into the final day. 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 world for the first time in his career with a home victory.
Hatton said: “It wasn’t easy out there and it was nice to finish with a birdie and shoot another round in the 60s. 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, but I’ve also lost them from similar positions. I’ve really enjoyed the week so far, and I’m just hoping that I can have a good day tomorrow. I can only control myself and that’s what I’ve got to do. It’s been a career goal of mine to win this event, so hopefully I can do that tomorrow.”
Joachim Hansen and Victor Perez are his closest pursuers on 11 under, both having carded third round 70s, while David Horsey, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry and Patrick Reed were all four shots off the pace on 10 under. Eddie Pepperell and Ian Poulter share eighth place on nine under.
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.