Andrew Dodt at Wentworth (European Tour)
Andrew Dodt will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the BMW PGA Championship after firing a sparkling 68 in testing conditions at Wentworth Club.
The elite field gathered for the first ever Rolex Series event had been treated to glorious sunshine and calm winds over days one and two and while the sun continued to shine on the revamped West Course, increased gusts made it a different proposition.
Dodt's 70-70 start had left him in the middle of the pack heading into the weekend but as many of those around him stood still or went the wrong way, the Australian fired a four under par effort to get to eight under and lead the way from South African Branden Grace.
Italian Francesco Molinari and England's Lee Westwood were then at five under, a shot clear of Ireland's Shane Lowry, Swede Henrik Stenson and Japanese Hideto Tanihara.
Dodt has two European Tour wins to his name - both coming in Asia - and enjoyed an excellent start to the season with back-to-back top threes before the turn of the year.
Victory on Sunday would represent the biggest win of his career but Grace will provide a stiff challenge as he goes in search of a eighth European Tour triumph, having won seven of the ten times he has been within two shots heading into round four.
"It's going to be tough out there," said Dodt. "There will be a few nerves, a lot of nerves there. I've just got to try to do what I've been doing the last three days and if I can do that, I can give myself a chance.
"I had a few chances early on I didn't quite take and then just played a solid back nine and it got a little bit tricky with the wind. Overall, it was just a really, really solid day.
"I feel good. My game feels good. I feel like I'm in a really good spot."
Dodt bogeyed the par five fourth but came roaring back with gains on the eighth, 11th and 12th. Another followed on the 14th and when he found the fringe on the par five 17th and got down in two, he was the man to catch.
Grace bogeyed the first, sixth and ninth with gains on the fifth and seventh to turn in 36 but an excellent tee-shot on the par three tenth got him back level for the day before he birdied the 11th and 12th.
A putt through the fringe on the 14th had him level with Dodt but a dropped shot on the 16th meant he would be chasing in the final group on Sunday.
"It was pretty much try to stay alive out there," he said. "It was fun. It's a tough day and you really had to play well to shoot a decent or a good number out there today. So I'm happy with the way I played and I'm happy with being in there with a chance tomorrow.
"It's one of those events that as a junior and amateur, and even as a pro, this is one that you always watched as the main flagship event for us here in Europe and it would be great to be part of that history."
Home favourite Westwood's chances looked to be fading when he bogeyed the second, fifth and ninth to turn in 38 but he finished birdie-birdie-birdie to delight the huge crowds.
Molinari bogeyed the first but stayed around the leaders with nine straight pars before dropping shots on the 11th and 15th. A gain on the 17th then gave him some fresh impetus heading into the final day.
Tanihara's 67 was the lowest round of the day, while Lowry and Stenson both mounted fine comebacks on the back nine to card rounds of 70 and 73 respectively.
English quartet Ross Fisher, Tyrrell Hatton, Andrew Johnston and Graeme Storm, Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Welshman Bradley Dredge, German Maximilian Kieffer and Scotsman Scott Jamieson were then five shots off the lead.