Wentworth Golf Club, Virginia Water, Surrey, United Kingdom - England 24 May 2018 - 27 May 2018
Sunday, 27 May 2018
Francesco Molinari  (Getty Images)
Francesco Molinari (Getty Images)

Francesco Molinari opened up a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and Alex Noren as the BMW PGA Championship moved towards its conclusion at Wentworth Club.

The Italian has an excellent record on the West Course, finishing in the top ten in five of the last six seasons including a second-place last year, and three birdies on the front nine put him in pole position for a first Rolex Series victory on Sunday.

Defending champion Noren picked up four shots in his first ten holes to get to 13 under, while McIlroy turned in level par.

Dane Lucas Bjerregaard was then at 11 under, a shot ahead of Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat and English pair Ross Fisher and Robert Rock.

A nice tee-shot from Rock on the second set up a birdie and a monster putt on the par five fourth led to an eagle that got him into double figures and second place on his own.

Swede Noren - who came from seven back with a closing 62 to win last season - then joined him after an excellent approach set up a five-foot birdie on the third.

Aphibarnrat followed the lead of Rock, holing a huge putt on the fourth after a birdie on the second to get to 11 under.

That was soon three off the lead, however, as Molinari hit a wonderful approach into the third and holed an eight-footer for birdie.

McIlroy had been erratic off the tee - going right on both the first and third - but scrambled well to start with three pars.

Noren took advantage of the par five fourth but would need more birdies if he was to catch Molianari, who made the most of the same hole to lead by two.

Aphibarnrat bogeyed the fifth and Rock dropped a shot on the eighth as it looked like it could develop into a three-horse race.

McIlroy made a first birdie of the day from 20 feet on the eighth but Molinari had hit a stunning approach and he converted to keep his lead at two.

Fisher also made a gain to get into red numbers for the day and join the group at ten under alongside Bjerregaard, who recovered from an opening bogey with birdies on the second, third, fourth and tenth.

McIlroy got a flier on the ninth and went over the back of the green to give a shot straight back and he was joined in second by Noren who birdied the tenth.

South African Branden Grace, English pair Sam Horsfield and Matt Wallace, Thai Thongchai Jaidee and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell were nine under.

A Rolex Series Event

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MOLINARI, FrancescoITA18-17
2MCILROY, RoryNIR18-15
T3NOREN, AlexSWE18-14
T5GRACE, BrandenRSA18-13

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