European Tour

Canizares top at Wentworth

2013-05-25 15:29
Alejandro Canizares (AFP)

Wentworth - Alejandro Canizares shot to the top of the leader board on on day three of the European PGA Championship at Wentworth on Saturday.

Canizares moved to seven-under with two birdies in his opening three holes a stroke ahead of overnight leader Francesco Molinari of Italy, who had just parred his first hole.

Englishmen Mark Foster (-6) and Lee Slattery (-7) plus Italian Matteo Manassero (-5) also strengthened their positions early in their rounds as things began to hot up.

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez also made his bid to get into contention with a typically stylish and impressive 67 and to move to four-under for the tournament. The veteran 2008 PGA winner was enjoying the rare sight of the sun in Surrey as a glimpse of summer helped spark a birdie blitz and lower scoring.

The likeable and colourful Jimenez was roared on by an army of followers at each hole as he sank six birdies and dropped just the single shot.

"My game was much better today all round. I struck the ball well and the putts went in. It makes such a difference when the sun shines and you get on a roll," said Jimenez.

"Hopefully, I will still be in there with a chance of winning by the end of play. But it depends on how the afternoon players go with the wind and course conditions."

Earlier, Scottish duo Richie Ramsay and Greig Hutcheon made the most of the vastly improved playing conditions - happily May sunshine replacing the cold wind and rain which soaked players and fans to the bone on the opening two days - by setting the course alight early on.

The two Aberdonians produced stunning rounds of 66 and 67 respectively to sweep up the board having started at the bottom of the cut off ladder on day three.

Hutcheon gave an impressive solo display. He was first out onto the course playing without a partner, and clearly enjoyed himself as the 40-year-old scorched home in just 31 with three birdies and an eagle in his back nine.

He moved from two-over to three-under and into the top eight at that stage of the day - but he was eclipsed not long after by former Walker Cup player and 2006 US Amateur winner Ramsay.

Ramsay, 30 next month, went out in 32 and carded seven birdies in total finishing like a train with three more at the 15th, 16th and 17th, helping him into the leading six at that stage.

Ramsay had to produce a Ballesteros-like miraculous save at the last hole par five to finish his round on a high and admitted: "It was a Seve-like par to be honest. I was playing great and wanted to be aggressive down the right side. I just pushed it, caught the trees and took an unplayable about a hundred yards back.

"I still had to go over the green and then had a water shot over the green for a three-footer for my par. It was a great way to finish because it could easily have been a high number."

England's Justin Rose lifted his spirits by putting together his best round of the tournament so far with four birdies in a 69. But the world No4 was still rueing the second round 74 which badly hindered his chances of victory.

Europe Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, 46, continued his fine form with a two-under 70 helping him to par for the Championship.

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