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Saturday, 15 September 2018
Wood: Me and Wobbly did some good work on the range

Chris Wood fired an excellent 65 to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the KLM Open at The Dutch.

The Englishman had fallen off the pace with two bogeys on the back nine on Friday and another on the second in round three threatened to derail his week but he fought back brilliantly with seven birdies in 13 holes to get to 13 under.

Japan's Hideto Tanihara matched the course record with a 63 to sit a shot off the lead alongside England's Jonathan Thomson and China's Wu Ashun.

Another Englishman in Richard McEvoy was then at 11 under, one shot clear of Scot David Drysdale and three-time Major Championship winner Padraig Harrington.

Wood is a three-time winner on the European Tour and is looking to get over the line after finishing second twice this season at the NBO Oman Open and HNA Open de France.

“I'm pleasantly surprised,” he said. “I finished poorly last night and as I alluded to, I'm making a couple of quite big swing changes at the moment.

“My target was 15 under for the tournament so I'm going to look a little bit differently at that now. I'll take another 65 tomorrow if you offer it me now.”

Thomson and Tanihara are both looking for a first win in their first full seasons on Tour, while two-time winner Wu arrived in Spijk full of confidence after a top ten at last week's Omega European Masters.

Wu's three-shot overnight lead was cut to one on the second hole as the 33 year old found the water for a bogey and Thomson holed from 12 feet to pick up a shot.

Thomson then hit a lovely pitch out of the rough into the third and the lead was shared but not for long as he hit a stunning long putt on the next for three birdies in a row.

Both Thomson and Wu took advantage of the par five sixth but ahead of them playing partners Harrington and Tanihara were making charges through the field.

Tanihara made birdies on the third, fifth, sixth, tenth and 13th and then holed a brilliant long putt on the 16th to get within one of the lead.

Harrington dropped a shot on the eighth but had birdies on the second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, 11th and 15th and when he hit a stunning tee-shot into the next, he was also in a share of third.

Thomson failed to get up and down after missing the green on the tenth but found himself back in the lead as Wu made a bogey on the next.

Tanihara joined him with a wonderful long left-to-righter on the last to set the target, as Harrington made a second bogey of the day.

A second consecutive bogey from Wu on the 12th after having to chip out of the rough following a poor tee-shot meant the leaders were two ahead of the pack but that did not last long as McEvoy entered the clubhouse at 11 under.

The 39 year old sandwiched a bogey on the ninth with birdies on the first, fourth, sixth, seventh, tenth and 12th before hitting a stunning tee-shot to two feet on the par three 14th and making the most of the par five last.

A three-putt from Thomson on the 13th left Tanihara in the lead and Thomson was in a share of second with McEvoy and the charging Wood.

The 2016 BMW PGA Championship winner had bogeyed the second but he bounced back on the sixth and seventh and made a long putt on the tenth before holing from five and 18 feet on the 12th and 13th.

His birdie on the par five sixth had come via a lay up and a third to tap-in range and he did the same on the 15th to join the lead, with Thomson following suit to make it a three-way tie.

Wood's masterful play on the long holes continued and he took advantage of the last to hit the front, with Wu also birdieing the last after beginning a fightback with a gain on the 14th.

Drysdale bogeyed the eighth and ninth to turn in 36 but bounced back brilliantly with birdies on the 11th, 13th and 14th in a 69.

Belgian Thomas Detry matched Tanihara's 63 to sit at nine under alongside Andy Sullivan, one clear of another Englishman in Jordan Smith and China's Li Haotong.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WU, AshunCHN18-16
2WOOD, ChrisENG18-15
T3DETRY, ThomasBEL18-14
T3TANIHARA, HidetoJPN18-14
5HARRINGTON, PadraigIRL18-13
T6PEPPERELL, EddieENG18-12

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