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Saturday, 06 August 2011
Luke Donald   (Getty Images)
Luke Donald (Getty Images)

Luke Donald catapulted himself back into contention at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational after a terrific third round.

The World Number One moved to nine under for the tournament, just three shots behind leader Adam Scott, after carding 64 at Akron.

Donald, who won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona in February, began the day in joint 21st but holed a 20 foot putt on the first for birdie to set the tone for a charge up the leaderboard.

He picked up a further six shots to move into a share of the lead on 10 under after 17 holes but carded his only bogey of the round on the final hole after missing a difficult putt.

“I putted a lot better today,” said Donald.  “That was really the only difference between today and the first two days. 

“I've been swinging it nicely, hitting a lot of fairways, a lot of greens. Just was able to get the putter rolling and hole a few putts, which was a pleasant surprise.

“I'm not going to think about 18 too much. It's a tough driving hole, and I didn't hit a very good tee shot there.

“I'm going to concentrate on all the good things I did today. That's only two bogeys for the whole week, so around a course that's pretty tight and tough as this place can be, that's pretty good.”

The 33 year old is tied for sixth alongside American Rickie Fowler and Swede Fredrik Jacobson, who made a three-under par 67 on a day where play had been brought forward because of the threat of thunderstorms later and the 76-strong field was split in half.

Martin Laird is leading the European contingent, though, and the Scot is one shot ahead of Donald and Jacobson after an assured display in which he equalled the latter’s score.

Laird, winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, picked up a shot on the third with a 16 foot putt and added back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th holes in a flawless round.

He could not repeat yesterday’s majestic finish, though, in which he birdied Firestone’s final three holes, and is currently tied for fourth alongside American Keegan Bradley.

Australian Scott will go into tomorrow’s final round with a one shot lead after he birdied four of the last seven holes for a 66.

He said: "I'm just going to have to play well to win tomorrow. You know, my strategy is just to have a chance when I'm coming down the last. 

"I feel like my game is in good enough shape. The one thing I'm going to focus on is my rhythm, my rhythm of my golf swing and try and keep it nice and smooth because everything else feels good."

Scott, who opened the week with an eight under par 62 that was only one off Tiger Woods's course record, now stands 12 under par and is one in front of compatriot Jason Day and Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa.

The latter equalled Donald’s 64, which was the best score of the day, as did American Zach Johnson, who lies ninth on eight under par.

Rory McIlroy is a further two shots adrift of Ryder Cup team-mate Donald on seven under after his 67, although he may be left to rue missing a seven foot birdie opportunity on the last.

The US Open Champion said: “It would have been nice to hole the putt on the last for birdie, but I'm in a decent position going into tomorrow.”

Francesco Molinari and Robert Karlsson had differing fortunes, with the former carding a two under 68 and the Swede a two over 72. They are both on five under in a tie for 14th, while Lee Westwood improved from 27th to 18th with a 68 for four under.

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