Donald and Davies lead in Madrid
England’s Luke Donald is on course to make history as he and Wales’ Rhys Davies lead the Madrid Masters after the third round.
Luke Donald remains on course to make it an amazing four English golfers in the world’s top 10, nine years after they had only Lee Westwood in the top 100.
But whether Donald can do it in the way he wants, by winning the Madrid Masters, remains to be seen after European Tour rookie Rhys Davies birdied two of the last three holes to join him on 16 under par with a round to go.
Even with a second-place finish at the Real Sociedad course Donald, currently ranked 13th, will join Westwood, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey in the world’s top 10.
But after what happened at Wentworth last Sunday, victory is all that is on his mind.
The 32-year-old, who lost the BMW PGA Championship by one after taking seven at the penultimate hole, fired a bogey-free 68.
However, Welshman Davies, already a winner in Morocco in his first full season on the circuit, holed from eight feet at the long 16th and then from 12 on the 198-yard 17th for a 67.
His round included eight birdies, but also a bogey at the third and double bogey on the short seventh.
Donald, who led by one at halfway, said: “To rebound from the disappointment of last week and be in contention shows a lot about my character.
“I was struggling a bit off the tee on the back side. Not to have a bogey was good, but it would have been nice to make a couple more birdies.”
Davies said: “I made two little errors, very minor, and got severely punished for both.
“It was annoying at the time, but I focused on keeping my head in the right position and took on the shots I felt like I needed to.
“Saturday is a little bit different because there is still a long way to go.”
Donald’s last title was the US Tour’s Honda Classic four years ago and for his last win in Europe you have to go back to the 2004 European Masters in Switzerland.
The world ranking points on offer mean that Donald will go fourth in the Ryder Cup table by ending his barren spell, a move that would knock Padraig Harrington out of an automatic spot.
Italian Francesco Molinari is two strokes back in third place after a 65 highlighted by five birdies in the opening seven holes and then a fairway wood to six feet for eagle at the 562-yard 16th.
Big-hitting Alvaro Quiros moved into fourth place with a course record-equalling 64 that almost came out of nowhere.
He was “only” four under for the day with three to play, but two-putted the 16th, made a 15-footer on the next and then pitched in from 58 yards for a closing eagle two.
It gives the 27-year-old the chance of a second victory on home soil this month. He started May by capturing the Spanish Open in a play-off with England’s James Morrison.
England’s Graeme Storm, the man who set the course record the day before, followed up with a 67 and is fifth.
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