Wood edges into contention
Chris Wood, one of the stars of the last two Opens, has moved into contention for a first European Tour title.
Chris Wood, one of the stars of the last two Open Championships, moved into contention for a first European Tour title with a six-under-par 65 in the third round of the Omega European Masters in Switzerland today (Saturday).
The 21-year-old from Bristol, joint 30th halfway through the European Masters on Friday, set the clubhouse target for the rest of the field at 10 under par.
South African Charl Schwartzel and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez were the new leaders at 12 under, but Wood was up into a tie for sixth with Ireland’s Paul McGinley.
As he felt was the case at Turnberry in July, the former England amateur international slipped almost unnoticed into the race at this, the first qualifying event for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Caddie Dave McNeilly even joked to Wood on the 16th green that he could create Tour history by being the first leader that nobody knew about.
“I didn’t have any cameras following me and I wasn’t on the leaderboard – even though there were players on there at nine under and I was 10 under,” he said.
“It seems that whatever I do I slip under the radar. Turning on the television the day after The Open it was all Tom Watson and Stewart Cink. Nothing about me.”
Like Lee Westwood, a closing bogey at the Open cost Wood a place in the play-off between Watson and Cink – and this just a year after he had finished fifth as an amateur at Birkdale.
Schwartzel took over the top by going to the turn in 32 and then adding another birdie at the 405-yard 10th.
His countryman, Thomas Aiken, had been one ahead overnight, but he managed only 38 for the front nine, taking a double bogey on the long ninth.
Westwood had trouble with the par fives as well, taking sixes on the 14th and 15th and then dropping two more shots.
Having climbed to seven under he fell all the way back to two under and out of the hunt barring a miracle.
Rory McIlroy, his playing partner for the third day running, was close to needing a miracle as well after a 70 put him on only five under.
The 20-year-old had the chance this week to go top of the European money list with a victory, but had fallen to joint 33rd. Westwood had slumped to 54th – as had Darren Clarke.
Schwartzel, only just 25 but seeking his fourth European Tour victory, marched into a three-stroke lead by adding further birdies on the 13th and 14th.
He made a mess of the next, though, by flying into the trees from a greenside bunker and taking three more from there for a bogey six.
That bogey cost him dear as Noren, playing in the group behind, eagled the same hole and then made a 12-footer for birdie at the difficult short 16th.
He was now 14 under, Schwartzel 13 under and then came Jimenez, Welshman Bradley Dredge and Filipino Angelo Que two strokes further back.
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