WENTWORTH, England – Chris Wood of England shot a 4-under 67 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the BMW PGA Championship on Saturday.
However, as the 22-year-old, who has top-five finishes at the last two British Opens, eyes his maiden European Tour victory on Sunday, he knows nothing can be taken for granted.
Not after Sweden’s Robert Karlsson posted a 9-under 62 for the lowest round at the PGA Championship since it was launched in 1955.
And it came on Wentworth’s redesigned West Course, which has been courting controversy for its alleged unfairness for the past three days.
Karlsson flew home to Monaco on Friday believing that at 3-over he had missed the halfway cut. When he discovered he was still in, the 40-year-old could catch only a scheduled flight to Paris, where he paid $11,000 for a private jet to get him back to Wentworth for his 8.55 a.m. tee off time.
Four hours later, he walked off the 18th green with an astonishing round that took him to 6-under and level with halfway leader Luke Donald, who had not started his third round. By the end of the day, Karlsson was in a share of second place, two strokes behind Wood.
While the Englishman has yet to win on the European Tour, he believes he has the composure to take the $938,000 winner’s check from 8-under 205.
“Its good to be leading,” Wood said after holing three straight birdies in a row from the second green.
“I went off like a train after making a couple of nice putts and I stayed calm. I didn’t always have the control of the ball as much as I would have liked, but hopefully if I can improve on that in the fourth round I will be confident.”
Wood drove into trees to bogey the 13th and 15th holes but quickly regained his advantage with a birdie at the 16th.
Danny Willett earned a share of second place with Karlsson after a 70 in which he failed to find consistency, mixing seven birdies with four bogeys and a double.
Overnight leader Luke Donald dropped back to fourth place and 5 under after a 1-over 72, and five players were left tied in fifth place at 3 under.
They included defending champion Paul Casey of England, who could shoot only a 72.