(Reuters) – England’s Eddie Pepperell produced a battling display to maintain a three-shot advantage after the third round of the British Masters in Surrey on Saturday.
The local favorite carded one-under-par 71 as he moved to nine-under overall at Walton Heath Golf Club, while compatriot Jordan Smith, Sweden’s Alexander Bjork, American Julian Suri and France’s Julien Guerrier finished at six under.
Pepperell maintained steady progress as made six straight pars before he eagled the 11th hole.
“It would have been nice to hole a couple of putts on the back nine for sure,” the 27-year-old said. “Give myself a bit more daylight.
“But I’m confident that I can go out there tomorrow and shoot three, four under par and make everyone else’s life very difficult.
“New position for me, first time I’ve ever gone out there with a three-shot lead on a Saturday so, to have maintained it, I would say is not a failure.”
Pepperell has finished in the top 10 in five of his last eight events as he targets a second European Tour crown after victory at the Qatar Masters in February.
Italy’s Andrea Pavan was in sizzling form as he matched the lowest round of the week with a 67 to remain in contention alongside Englishman Matt Wallace, five shots off the pace.
Ryder Cup hero Tommy Fleetwood rebounded from a sluggish 77 in the second round with a four-birdie 70 which put him at two under while tournament host and world number two Justin Rose was one shot further back after posting a 69.
Frenchman Adrien Saddier matched Pavard’s 67 to finish at three under alongside 2015 champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, South African Trevor Immelman and Dane Lucas Bjerregaard, the winner of last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)