AFP/Wentworth, United Kingdom
Former Masters champion Danny Willett held a share of the PGA Championship lead with Spain’s Jon Rahm after a tense third round at Wentworth yesterday.
Rahm was two shots up after the first 16 holes and enjoyed a stroke of luck on the 17th when his second shot was heading out of bounds before hitting a spectator. However, the world number six failed to make the most of his good fortune by pitching to 10 feet and then three-putting for a six and was also just a few feet from driving out of bounds at the last.
After taking a penalty drop another bogey looked on the cards, but Rahm holed from 20 feet for an unlikely par and Willett got up and down from a greenside bunker for a birdie to match his playing partner’s 68. On 15 under par, Rahm and Willett have a three-shot lead over Justin Rose, Shubhankar Sharma and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
“Man, those last two holes made it feel a lot worse than it really was. I was really in control of my game and playing good,” Rahm said. “It was not the finish I was looking for, I might have lost a bit of focus, looking into the future instead of staying in the present.”
Despite his late woes, Rahm could join Jose Maria Olazabal, Seve Ballesteros, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ignacio Garrido and Manuel Pinero as a Spanish winner at Wentworth. Willett recovered from a bogey on the first with the aid of six birdies to remain in contention for a seventh European Tour title and a first on home soil.
“This is our biggest tournament of the year for us British guys, it’s a massive event,” Willett said. “I’ve been here 10 straight years and I love the place. The crowds are amazing.”
Rory McIlroy hasn’t abandoned hope of winning after a superb 65 which equalled his lowest score at Wentworth and left him nine shots off the lead.
“I will give it a go for sure and you never know. But at the same time I’m a realist,” he said
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