On another day of difficult scoring in China, Rafael Cabrera-Bello carded a bogey-free, 5-under 67 to catch overnight leader Luke Guthrie, as the pair will now share the lead heading into the final round of the BMW Masters.
Cabrera-Bello, who has two European Tour titles to his credit, opened with birdies on each of his first two holes Saturday at Lake Malaren and kept a clean scorecard for the rest of the round, adding birdies on Nos. 7, 11 and 17 to join Guthrie at 8-under 208. After the round, the Spaniard attributed the good round to his hot start.
'I started with two birdies today, which was good. It gave me confidence straightaway,' the 29-year-old told EuropeanTour.com. 'Then I just stayed calm, one shot at a time, and today it worked.'
Having led by two shots after the first round and four shots after the second, Guthrie now has company atop the leaderboard in Shanghai after an even-par 72 in the third round that included four birdies against four bogeys. Despite closing with a pair of bogeys across his final three holes, the 23-year-old remains optimistic heading into Sunday's finale.
'At the beginning of the week, if I was going into the fourth round tied for the lead, I'd have taken it,' noted Guthrie, one of just three Americans in this week's field. 'As today went, it was a little frustrating. When I made a couple birdies, I seemed to step on my own foot a few times.'
Cabrera-Bello won't be the only Spaniard Guthrie has to deal with Sunday, as countryman Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano sits alone in third place, one shot behind the co-leaders after matching Cabrera-Bello's 5-under 67 in the third round. France's Gregory Bourdy is alone in fourth, two shots off the pace, while Englishman Paul Casey headlines a trio of players tied for fifth through 54 holes.
Continuing his trend of steady – if unspectacular – play, Rory McIlroy carded a 1-under 71 and sits in a tie for 14th heading into Sunday. The Ulsterman appeared to have a solid round going, notching four straight birdies from Nos. 10-13, but closed with a disappointing double bogey on the home hole and as a result will begin the final round at 2-under 214, six shots off the lead.
After surprising many with his 5-under 67 in the opening round, John Daly continued to struggle as he makes his first start in more than three months after recovering from right elbow surgery. The 47-year-old struggled to a 6-over 78 Saturday, a round that included a pair of triple bogeys across a three-hole stretch from Nos. 11-13. The effort dropped Daly back to 4-over 220 for the week and into a tie for 36th among the 78-man field.