Chris Wood (Getty Images)
Chris Wood stood on the verge of a return to golf's big time when he took a three stroke lead into the closing round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
From 142nd in the Official World Golf Ranking the 25 year old from England had the chance to make a huge leap into the top 64 who will contest the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona next month.
Wood has not played in that event since 2010 - he lost in the first round to Lee Westwood - and has not made it into any of the four Majors since then either.
Now things are looking up again for the player who came fifth in the 2008 Open Championship as an amateur and then 12 months later missed out on the play-off between Tom Watson and Stewart Cink at Turnberry by a single shot after bogeying the final hole - just like Westwood.
Last August Wood won his first professional title at the Thailand Open and a superb 64 in Doha yesterday lifted him clear of a high-class field.
"I'm very excited," he said.
"I thought as long as I kept myself in the mix I was going to be really looking forward to the last round, but leading hopefully gives me a bit of a cushion."
Compatriot Simon Khan, back down to 486th in the OWGR three years after winning The European Tour's flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, also shot 64 and resumed joint second on 12 under par with New Zealand's Michael Campbell and Swede Alex Noren.
Campbell, who beat Tiger Woods down the stretch to win the 2005 US Open Championship, has climbed from outside the world's top 900 to 264th in the last six months.
Ryder Cup pair Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer, who were part of a four-way tie for the lead at halfway, had four and six shots to make up respectively.