Saturday, 30 September 2017
Lee Westwood  (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood (Getty Images)

Tournament host Lee Westwood turned in 32 to share the lead as Rory McIlroy made a charge through the field on day three of the British Masters supported by Sky Sports.

The Englishman - who is the Tour professional at Close House Golf Club and had a hand in designing the layout - made the most of his local knowledge to move to 12 under alongside overnight leader Tyrrell Hatton.

That left him a shot ahead of South African George Coetzee, Scot Richie Ramsay and England's Graeme Storm but McIlroy carded a 64 to sit at ten under and share the clubhouse lead.

Swede David Lingmerth was also in the hutch at that mark after a 62, with Irish duo Paul Dunne and Shane Lowry, English pair Chris Hanson and Ian Poulter and Swede Robert Karlsson all out on course on a congested leaderboard.

Lingmerth set the pace with the lowest round of the week so far.

The Swede made five birdies in a row from the fourth to turn in 30 and added further gains on the tenth and 13th to move from the cut line into a share of second. A bogey on the 15th extinguished any faint hopes of a 59 on the par 70 layout but Lingmerth birdied the 16th and 17th to get into double-figures.

McIlroy was also an early starter after entering the weekend at four under and he soon set about delighting the huge galleries following him.

The Northern Irishman birdied the third, chipped in at the fifth and made further gains on the par five ninth and par four sixth - where the tee had been brought up 145 yards - to turn in 31.

Dunne made a fast start - birdieing the second and third and then making it three in a row with a fantastic recovery from some nasty rough.

Westwood was attracting big crowds and they had something to cheer about when the 23-time European Tour winner rolled in a long one from the edge of the second green to get to ten under.

Coetzee had held the first round lead before a disappointing 72 on day two but he came roaring back with two eagles to turn in 30. He went birdie-bogey on the fourth and fifth but eagled the par five sixth, birdied the next and then took advantage of the shortened ninth.

Poulter had been ragged but produced a wonderful chip-in on the third to get to ten under and that was just one ahead of McIlroy who birdied the par five 13th.

Hatton then put his second shot very close to a wall on the second and while he recovered well with a chip, he could not save par and was soon joined by Westwood in the lead, with the 44 year old holing another long putt on the third.

Dunne made a fourth birdie of the day to turn in 31 and sit just a shot off the lead but Poulter was heading in the other direction after finding the water and recording a double on the fifth.

Coetzee took advantage of the par five 13th to join the lead but when McIlroy made a ten-footer on the 17th, he was just one back.

Ramsay had birdies on the sixth and eighth but rolled in an eagle from left-to-right on the ninth and when he birdied the 13th, he was 11 under.

Hatton missed good chances to edge ahead on the fifth and sixth and the chasing pack were gathering, with Storm and Hanson both making birdies to join the group at ten under.

Poulter produced a lovely chip to birdie the ninth and then made another on the tenth, with Karlsson bouncing back from a bogey on the eighth with an eagle on the ninth.

Playing partner Westwood made a birdie on the same hole but Hatton repeated the trick to share the lead once more.

Lowry had gone about his business quietly and made birdies on the sixth, ninth, 13th and 14th.

Matthew Fitzpatrick and Chris Wood were in the clubhouse three off the lead.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1DUNNE, PaulIRL18-20
2MCILROY, RoryNIR18-17
3KARLSSON, RobertSWE18-16
T4FRITSCH, FlorianGER18-14
T4LINGMERTH, DavidSWE18-14
T4STORM, GraemeENG18-14

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