MARC WARREN was one of four players to claim a share of the lead heading into the final day of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
Warren shot a five-under-par third-round 67 in Doha to join Branden Grace, Emiliano Grillo and Bernd Wiesberger at the top of the leaderboard on 13 under.
England’s Eddie Pepperell was among the chasing pack after shooting a superb 65 to finish the day on 11 under alongside Alejandro Canizares and George Coetzee.
Another Englishman, Oliver Fisher, was alone in eighth on nine under after carding 69.
Glaswegian Warren’s only blemish came as he missed a short putt to bogey the 14th but he responded with back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th to maintain high hopes of a fourth European Tour win.
Warren told reporters: “It was good, really solid today. I missed a few greens on the back nine but my short game held it together, with a few good iron shots coming in.
“Overall, it was a really pleasing day.”
Grace bogeyed the third and fourth and hit further trouble when his tee shot at the fifth found the trees. But the South African somehow produced a superb recovery, despite not having clear sight of the green, to set up a birdie chance and provide the spark for a round of 68.
Austrian Wiesberger had a steady day and birdied the 18th to record a 68 after a visit to the rocky rough had seen him drop his only shot at 16. Grillo, of Argentina, shot a bogey-free 67.
Coetzee had a share of the lead after two rounds but fell back, despite not dropping a shot in his 70. Canizares has not made a bogey in three days and maintained his progress with four birdies in his 68.
But the round of the day belonged to Oxfordshire’s Pepperell. A day after his 24th birthday, Pepperell sank nine birdies and held the clubhouse lead as he signed for his seven-under-par round.
Meanwhile, an initial 20-man squad for the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team to face the USA at Royal Lytham & St Annes in September has been announced by The R&A.
The 45th Walker Cup match will be played on the weekend of 12 and 13 September and will see GB&I bidding to win back the historic trophy after the USA’s convincing 17-9 victory in the 2013 match at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, New York.
Amateur Champion Bradley Neil leads a strong Scottish contingent in the squad, which also includes the 2014 St Andrews Links Trophy champion, Grant Forrest and Jamie Savage, who won the Irish Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan is the only player in the squad with previous Walker Cup experience. The current Scottish Open Stroke Play Champion played in the 2013 match where he earned two points for GB&I. He is joined by fellow Irishmen Gary Hurley, who finished joint runner-up in the 2014 European Amateur Championship, and Paul Dunne, who came through Final Qualifying to play in last year’s Open at Royal Liverpool.
Double European Amateur champion Ashley Chesters, Adam Chapman and Sam Horsfield are among the English players in the squad.
David Boote, who enjoyed a top ten finish in last year’s European Amateur Championship, is the sole Welshman included.
GB&I squad: Tomasz Anderson (Brocket Hall), Gary Hurley (West Waterford), David Boote (Walton Heath), Nick Marsh (Huddersfield), Daniel Brown (Bedale), Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock (Barassie), Adam Chapman (Windermere) Gavin Moynihan (The Island), Ashley Chesters (Hawkstone Park), Jimmy Mullen (Royal North Devon), Paul Dunne (Greystones), Bradley Neil (Blairgowrie), Grant Forrest (Craigielaw), Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie), Sam Horsfield (Davenport, USA) Jamie Savage (Cawder), Paul Howard (Southport & Ainsdale), Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass), Jack Hume (Naas), Ben Stow (Rushmore).
The final ten-man GB&I team will be announced in August.