Hanson holds slender advantage

10/27/2012 9:37:17 AM
Peter Hanson  and Rory McIlroy   (Getty Images)
Peter Hanson and Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)
Peter Hanson leads World Number One Rory McIlroy by a single shot going into the final round of the BMW Masters in Shanghai.

A third round 70 took Hanson to 16 under par, but his Ryder Cup teammate shot 69 and is now only one behind as he chases a fifth victory of the season.

The Swede started the day two clear, but was caught within eight holes after a birdie at the second was followed by bogeys at the fourth, fifth and eighth.

A birdie at the ninth gave Hanson the advantage once more and, although he was briefly joined by Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts on the back nine, McIlroy was unable to draw level again.

Big-hitting Colsaerts launched a thrilling charge with eight birdies in his first 15 holes – the highlight almost holing his approach at the 11th – but double bogeys at the 16th and 17th sent him tumbling back into the pack.

Hanson and McIlroy both birdied the 11th, the latter brilliantly splashing out from a bunker to two feet.

The 35 year old Hanson was clear again when he reached the 13th green in two and two-putted; and holed from ten feet to match McIlroy’s birdie at the 15th.

However, the US PGA Champion struck from 15 feet at the 16th and would have ended the day level with Hanson on 16 under par but for a lip-out at the 17th.

Hanson, who added a two under 70 to rounds of 66 and 64, said: “The wind was blowing from opposite direction today which made it a little bit trickier, and some of the pins were tucked away.

“It’s great to play with Rory. Every time you get the chance to play against the World Number One it’s a fantastic thing to do. Hopefully I can stay ahead of him but I think it’s going to be a tough one tomorrow and I need to play a little bit better than I did today.

“Winning on The European Tour is always massive and this is the start of a big stretch for us. If I can get it back to the first two rounds I think I’ve got a good chance.”

South African George Coetzee defied the testing conditions at Lake Malaren with a six under par 66 to move into third place on 13 under.

Then comes a further two stroke gap to a chasing pack of England’s Luke Donald and Justin Rose, Irish pair Michael Hoey and Shane Lowry, last year's Masters Tournament Champion Charl Schwartzel and Swede Alex Noren.

The highlight of Rose's round was driving the green at the dog-leg 380 yard 11th and sinking a 30 foot putt for eagle. He came home in 32 for a 69, but is in danger of falling further behind McIlroy in The Race to Dubai.

The 23 year old Northern Irishman has already sealed the US PGA Tour money list in America and can take a huge step towards emulating the double achieved by Donald last year.

“I’m one behind and in a great position,” said McIlroy. “I’ll try to go out and shoot the best score possible and see what happens. 

“As long as you're up there near the lead, it's a good position to be in. Whether I'm one ahead or one behind or level, I can go out there tomorrow and give it my all and hopefully that's good enough.”

Robert Karlsson played with Hanson and McIlroy, but fell ten behind with a 75, while Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who led by four after his opening course-record 62, is now eight back after rounds of 74 and 72.