Trevor Immelman takes a two stroke lead into the final round of the Volvo PGA Championship after a stunning 64, eight under par, over the famous West Course at Wentworth Club took him clear of the field.
Immelman, who claimed his maiden European Tour title earlier in the year when he won the South African Airways Open, took advantage of the calm conditions to shoot matching halves of 32 and move to 14 under par 202, two clear of Sweden’s Niclas Fasth.
Immelman also outscored playing partner Ernie Els by three strokes as he put together a near perfect round of golf, his only blemish coming at the 15th where he three putted. But three birdies to finish, including a 30 foot putt on the 16th which crashed into the back of the hole before dropping, completed an impressive display.
“That was pretty much as good as I can play,” said Immelman. “It was a lot of fun to be able to be out there with Ernie and shoot a round like that.”
Els has been like a big brother to Immelman since the young protégé burst onto the amateur scene. They have known each other for 17 years, with Immelman learning at every step from the World Number Two and it was one of his dreams to play in a major tournament alongside him.
“I remember sitting up at midnight and watching Ernie win two US Opens and then got to play in the Open Championship last year that he won. This was something I was hoping I could get to one day.”
Els for his part described Immelman as South Africa’s next superstar. “I know Trevor as well as anybody,” said Els. “He’s going to be our next star and he’s going to show it. If I want to win tomorrow, I’ve probably got to go through him.”
Els will also have to go through Fasth, who bounced back from a double bogey on the 15th hole, with a hat-trick of birdies for a 68 to finish on 12 under par, 204.
“Obviously it is much better for tomorrow after the finish,” said Fasth. “I had not really got the scoring going today as I would have liked and that double bogey could have killed me but I chose to really fight back. Tomorrow we just have to go out and give it our best. Two shots can be a lot or nothing.”
A shot adrift of Fasth alongside Els is Ignacio Garrido, the Spaniard climbing the leaderboard with a six under par 66 as he chases his first European Tour title since 1997.
“The ultimate goal of any player in any sport is competing with the best,” said Garrido. “I’ve always enjoyed playing with good players as you always learn something and I’ve been lucky to beat them sometimes. It’s exciting and I am looking forward to it tomorrow.”
Paul Casey continued his rich vein of form when he matched Immelman’s 64 to move into contention for the third successive week on ten under par 216, just four shots off the lead, after a birdie-eagle finish.
“I wanted to be at least on the leaderboard when the leaders started,” said Casey. “The course was there for the taking, the weather was perfect. I missed a couple of chances for eagle earlier so it was a nice way to finish.”
Another recent winner on The European Tour International Schedule, the 60th Italian Open Telecom Italia champion Mathias Gronberg, is also on ten under par after a round of 67 along with Gordon Brand Jnr who posted a 68.