Welshman Maintains British Masters Lead
Local favorite Ian Poulter, two shots back of Price at the start of the day, drew closer to the top spot with his second straight 67. He finished alone in second at 14-under, two shots ahead of fellow Englishmen Justin Rose (65) and Gary Evans (66), and Denmark's Soren Hansen (67).
Colin Montgomerie, the winner of this event in 1998 when it was held at the Marriott Forest of Arden, shot a 68 for a share of sixth place with Trevor Immelman (68) and two-time major winner Sandy Lyle (70) at minus 9.
Price opened a three-shot lead at 16-under when he posted his fifth birdie of the day, and 17th of the week, at the par-4 12th. But he left his long birdie attempt seven feet short at the 18th green, then missed his par putt for his first bogey since his fourth hole of the opening round - a span of 49 holes without a dropped shot.
'I thought we would pull away from the field a little but we have brought everybody back,' said Price, who also lipped out a four-foot putt for birdie at the 16th hole. 'If someone shoots low we'll have to watch out.'
Price will be seeking his third European Tour title. He captured the Portuguese Open in 1994 and 2001.
Poulter seemed destined to post a big number at the final hole when his drive found the trees right of the fairway. He recovered by playing a daring punch shot between a narrow opening in the branches that wound up just short of the green, then chipped to 10 feet and rolled in the putt to save par.
Poulter, 26, will play the final round alongside Price, the man who edged him out for the last automatic spot on the European Ryder Cup team. Poulter will also be paired with good friend Rose, who has been his guest this week at his house.
'I think it will be exciting,' said Poulter, who won the Italian Open in his rookie year of 2000 and earned the Moroccan Open title last season. '[Rose] plays a similar game to me and I think it will be a fiery three-ball tomorrow. It will be good fun.'
Rose, who was born in South Africa before moving to England at the age of five, reeled in his first European Tour victory at the Dunhill Championship in Johannesburg back in January. He followed with a win at the Southern Africa Tour's Nashua Masters and recently grabbed another international title in Japan.
His goal now is to hoist a trophy on English soil.
'I was determined to be more focused and it seems to be working,' said the 21-year-old Rose. 'I am just making an effort to stay concentrated and not look around at friends in the gallery.'
Ireland's Padraig Harrington turned in a seven-birdie, no-bogey 65 to move within seven shots of the lead at 8-under-par.
Defending champion Thomas Levet, who began the third round five strokes off the pace, bolted out of the gate with an eagle at the second hole but tallied five bogeys against just two birdies the rest of the way. He finished 10 shots back of the lead with a 1-over 73.
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