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Home hero Andy Sullivan among leading six at The Belfry

Home hero Andy Sullivan among leading six at The Belfry

Local hero Andy Sullivan enjoyed a birdie-birdie finish to make it a six-way tie at the top heading into the final day at the Betfred British Masters hosted by Sir Nick Faldo.

Joost Luiten and Guido Migliozzi had set an early target of seven under on day three at The Belfry but it seemed unlikely they would be at the top at the end of the day when they were signing their cards.

On a frenetic day of scoring in the wind, however, that proved to be the case as Sullivan, fellow Englishmen James Morrison and Oliver Wilson and Dane Niklas Nørgaard all finished at the same score.

German Maximilian Kieffer was then at six under, a shot clear of Frenchman Romain Langasque and South African duo Bryce Easton and Justin Walters, with 39 players within five shots of the lead.

Luiten - who finished second last week at the BMW International Open - and Migliozzi both fired rounds of 68, with the other four leading contenders getting round in 70.

Home duo Sullivan and Wilson were in the penultimate group and with a large crowd gathered on the 18th, the former got the biggest cheer of the day when he holed a 40-footer down the slope to join the lead.

The four-time DP World Tour winner hails from Nuneaton, less than a 30-minute drive from this week’s host venue, and he was delighted to be in contention so close to home after registering just one top ten so far this season.

"I'm absolutely buzzing," he said. "I can't wait. I'm not going to lie, I'll probably go have a little beer right now to calm down because literally, the nerves on the last when the putt was going down, I was thinking, this could be three-putt.

"It's amazing. It's been so nice to see so many friendly faces out there. I'm going to enjoy it.

"I didn't get anything going all day, very steady, very solid, and then last couple of holes was sweet to finish like that."

He will face some stiff competition if he is to make it win number five, though, with Luiten looking for his seventh, Migliozzi his fourth and Morrison and Wilson both seeking a third victory.

By the time overnight leaders Justin Rose and Antoine Rozner teed off, they were in a seven-way tie for the lead and it would be a congested leaderboard for the rest of the day.

Wilson left himself five feet at the second and then got up and down from the sand at the par-five third before a 32-footer at the fifth handed him the solo lead at eight under.

Morrison joined him as he sandwiched smart approaches at the second and eighth with a long putt at the fifth but Wilson put his tee-shot to eight feet at the seventh to hit the front on his own.

He briefly had company from Rozner, who turned in 33, but the Frenchman put two in the water at the tenth for a quadruple bogey as he dropped six shots in three holes.

The start of the back nine was proving tricky as both Wilson and Morrison went bogey-bogey on the tenth and 11th and, while Morrison hit back from 20 feet on the 13th, it was Nørgaard who reached the summit next.

Amid all the chaos, he had made 11 pars after holing from off the green at the second, but he then put his tee-shot to five feet at the 14th and made a two-putt birdie at the par-five 15th to lead at eight under.

He put his tee-shot at the 17th into the trees and had to play out sideways, making it a five-way tie once again, which Morrison broke out of with a two-putt birdie on the same hole before bogeying the last with a three-putt.

Sullivan had made a two-putt birdie at the third and hit a smart approach into the ninth before he too struggled after the turn, bogeying the 11th and 12th, before he set up his big finish by getting up and down at the par-five 17th.

Earlier, Dutchman Luiten had turned in 36 with a birdie and a bogey but then holed a long putt at the 15th, got up and down on the 15th and eagled the 17th with an incredible 70-footer.

Migliozzi, meanwhile, holed a 19-footer at the second and then put a remarkable second to eight feet at the next to set up an eagle.

A bogey came at the seventh but the Italian put his approach to six feet at the 13th and made a two-putt par on the 15th to sit a shot ahead of Kieffer, who also carded a 68.

Rose was then in a 12-man group at four under after a 74, a shot ahead of Rozner and seven others.

Matthew Baldwin secured a £50,000 donation to Prostate Cancer UK from Betfred as he made it 28 holes-in-one from 28 events this season, holing a five iron from 198 yards at the 14th.

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