Adam Scott brilliantly birdied the last hole for a third day running at the BMW PGA Championship to boost his goal of a first win on English soil, writes Bernie McGuire at Wentworth.
Scott’s third birdie in succession on the par-5 18th handed the Queenslander a four-way share of third place and tied with American Billy Horschel (69), South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout (68) and Welshman Jamie Donaldson who eagled the last in a 69 a day after the 2014 European Ryder Cup-winning hero had bagged three eagles in Round 3.
Italian Francesco Laporta eagled his fourth hole in a round of 69 to move to the top of the board at 14-under as the 30-year-old seeks a first European Tour victory.
American Laurie Canter (70) is in second place just a shot behind Laporta.
Three players – Austrian Bernd Wiesberger (67), Ireland’s Shane Lowry (69) and American Sam Crocker (66) – share seventh place at 11-under.
Wiesberger only needs to finish where he is to be assured of automatic selection for the 2021 European Ryder Cup team. Qualifying ends at the close of the BMW Championship ahead of team captain Padraig Harrington announcing his three ‘wildcard’ picks later Sunday evening.
The week has turned into a selection nightmare for Harrington with just five players – Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland and Paul Casey – assured of being on the plane later this month to Wisconsin.
Scott’s focus, however, will be to get on top of his poor starts the past two rounds having been 2-over after three on both days.
“That’s two days in a row it’s been a rough start but that can happen here,” said Scott.
“You’ve just got to settle down and knuckle down and I did.
“I’ve left myself work to do the last three holes each day and so far, I’ve managed to do it OK. But I really don’t want to be in that position tomorrow. I’d like to get off to a good start and get the momentum on my side, and then this course can really present itself to you.
“They are tough holes. You don’t have to do a lot wrong to make a bogey. But in saying that, in two good shots, you can make a birdie and really get moving in the right direction.
“The opening three will be the key,” he added. “What I’m going to focus on now is the first three holes and try and get under par through three or four, and I think there’s a good score out there.”
After being 2-over after three those two days he proceeded to play the last 15 holes on day two in 5-under and 4-under over the same stretch on day three.
If Scott can get through the early trio in 1-under as he did on day one when he almost holed out for an ace at the par-3 second, we could be celebrating a first Australian success at European Tour HQ in 31 years.
“I had to make that birdie on 18 if I want to think I’ve got a chance,” Scott added.
“It’s so bunched. There’s going to be one or two guys, at least, tomorrow who shoot a good score. You can’t afford to be four back when there’s so many guys up there.”
Scott’s won 31 times in his pro career but with his only win in the UK being the 2002 Scottish PGA Championship. The closest he has come to winning ‘south of the border’ in England was the heartbreak of his runner-up finish in the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
Fellow Aussie Wade Ormsby emulated his close mate in dropping shots at the first and third holes but recovered with birdies on 13 and 18 in a score of 72 to remain at 5-under par to sit just outside the top 40.