Peter Hanson maintained his lead at the BMW Masters in Shanghai by one shot over world No. 1 Rory McIlroy as Day 3 of this crucial tournament in the Race to Dubai wound down.
The pair of recent Team Europe Ryder Cup teammates shot rounds of 70 and 69 respectively on Lake Malaren Golf Club's par-72 track.
It was a bit of a sluggish start for McIlroy, who birdied the second hole but bogeyed a par-5 on the next. After running pars, the 23-year-old Northern Irishman made three birdies on the back nine to salvage a stellar round.
The current runner-up to McIlroy in the Race to Dubai standings is Justin Rose, who sits in a logjam tie for fourth along with six other players after carding a 69 himself. Also at minus-11 is former World No. 1 Luke Donald and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.
A shot further back but seven strokes off the pace set by Hanson are big names such as Graeme McDowell, Nicolas Colsaerts, Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer.
The leaderboard is a good mix of the aforementioned world-class players and major champions, as well as up-and-coming European Tour players not as well known in the States. Most notable of these is George Coetzee, a long-hitting, smooth-putting South African who had one of the best rounds of the day with a six-under 66.
Here is a closer look at the scores, including highlights and some social media reaction. For the complete results, check out the European Tour's official website.
|3||George Coetzee||69-68-66 ||-13|
|T4||Charl Schwartzel||69-68-68 ||-11|
|T4||Justin Rose||68-68-69 ||-11|
|T4||Alexander Noren||68-68-69 ||-11|
An overcast, misty day and swirling winds caused scoring to balloon a little bit in the third round. For Sunday, the weather is looking sunny and clear, which should lend itself to a wild finish due to the moisture accumulated from Day 3. The more birdies that have to be posted, the more the explosive, longer players will be rewarded.
This change in the tournament dynamic has to favor McIlroy and Coetzee particularly, so look for the shift in conditions to result in the two dueling it out on the back nine. Ultimately, McIlroy will emerge with the third European Tour victory of his career.
Ian Poulter may be outside of the Top 10 this week, but that didn't stop his clothing line's account from showing off the Englishman's always colorful wardrobe:
Looking to notch his third career European Tour victory, Shane Lowry had a positive outlook after Round 3 despite shooting five shots worse than his scintillating 64 from Friday:
Decent day today again. A lot of positives to be taken out of today. Looking forward to tomorrow. Should be an exciting day. #bmwmasters—Shane Lowry (@shanelowrygolf) October 27, 2012
Nike Golf was pleased with the play of its three big guns Ross Fisher, Paul Casey and Charl Schwartzel. The trio sit inside the Top 10 after each posted 68s on Saturday: