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Wood three clear in Qatar

Englishman fires fluent 64 as he bids to secure first professional victory

Gulf News

Doha: England’s Chris Wood produced a spectacular display of golf to establish himself as a serious contender for the Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Club on Friday.

Looking for his first victory since turning pro in 2008, the 25-year-old stroked a fluent 64 to carry a three-shot advantage over the trio of compatriot Simon Khan, Swede Alexander and New Zealander Michael Campbell into Saturday’s final round.

In near-perfect conditions, Wood, best known for his challenges at the 2008 and 2009 British Open, shot past the front nine in 31, consolidating his position with an eight-foot eagle on the 548-yard 10th.

The 6ft 5in player then suffered a hiccup with a bogey at the 12th before picking up two more shots for a three-round aggregate of 13 under-par 201.

Khan also put himself in the mix with a bogey-free 64 after finding himself in 31st place at the halfway stage. The 2010 BMW PGA Championship winner at Wentworth held a two-shot lead by the time he was on the 13th hole but a string of five pars coupled with Wood’s charge saw him end the day in joint-third place.

“It’s been a tough couple years since winning Wentworth, so it’s amazing,” said Khan, who has had just one top-10 finish since then. The feelings start coming back pretty quickly in this game, which is good. Hopefully I can carry it on tomorrow.

“It was really good fun on the front nine and I had a good up and down out of the waste area on three, which is a real tough one. I managed to par that and that really kept me going.

“I’m pleased with the back nine. I played quite nicely — left a couple of putts short but haven’t been up there for a while, so hopefully I can do that a little bit better tomorrow.”

Sergio Garcia, who was part of a four-way tie with German Martin Kaymer, Australian Marcus Fraser and Portugal’s Ricardo Santos, could only manage a 70 on Friday thanks to bogeys on the 15th and 18th.

His aggregate of 11-under par 205 leaves him joint-third with South African Brenden Grace, who stroked a 67.

Australian Fraser saw three bogeys ruin his round as he finished on 71 for an aggregate of 206.

Meanwhile, Santos, who had led after the first day, suffered a spectacular meltdown in the third round to blow his chances of winning for the second time on the European Tour. The 2012 Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year had four bogeys and two double bogeys as he finished the day on 76, which gave him an aggregate of 211, 10 shots off the pace.