Briton Chris Wood will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Qatar Masters hoping to end an elusive five-year search for his first win on the European Tour.
The 25-year-old Englishman looked set to have a promising career when in 2008, while still an amateur, he finish tied for fifth place behind Padraig Harrington in the British Open at Royal Birkdale.
Since then, his progress has been hampered by a series of back complaints caused by the wide swing arc created by his almost 2m tall frame.
Last year, he did record his first professional victory in the Thailand Open on the OneAsia Tour, but then the injury returned.
“Two or three weeks after I won, I had to wirhdraw from a couple of events as my back went,” he said after reaching 15-under-par on Friday.
“All of a sudden from going on a bit of a high after winning a tournament I had to pick myself up and start again,” Wood said. “The confidence seemed to be short-lived the, but I hope fully [that] I can look back on that win and it will help me in the final round.”
Wood was two shots off the lead at the start of the day, but worked his way to the top of leaderboard with five birdies in his first eight holes and an eagle at the par-five tenth in a round of 64.
For most of the third round, Wood’s nearest challenger was Sergio Garcia of Spain, but he dropped back four shots off the pace after finishing his 70 with a bogey after finding water by the 18th green.
In a three-way tie for second place are New Zealander Michael Campbell, Englishman Simon Khan and Alexander Noren of Sweden.
Khan began five shots off the lead, but sunk six birdies in his first seven holes on his way to a round of 64.
He followed up with two more on the closing nine, but still felt he could have done even better.
“I was leading after eight holes, but then I did the classic. I got a little bit ahead of myself and started thinking ahead,” he said. “It would have been nice to have finished a little better, but I was delighted with the front nine.”
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