Chris Wood produced one of the comebacks of the season to keep himself in contention on day three of the HNA Open de France, but he will have to overcome formidable opposition if he is to win his first Rolex Series event today.
The Englishman began the third round two shots behind leader Marcus Kinhult in Paris and that is where he ended it, although he needed a remarkable run of form around the turn to sign for a 67 and get to eight under.
A double-bogey on the fourth and a bogey on the fifth sent Wood tumbling down the leader board, but the 30-year-old picked up eight shots in his next 10 holes, with the help of a chip-in eagle on the ninth, to find himself just one off the lead.
A bogey on the last took some of the gloss off his surge through the field, and Wood was left looking over his shoulder as well as up at Kinhult, with 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia just one shot behind him.
World No.5 Jon Rahm was then at six under, two shots clear of world No.2 Justin Thomas.
“A lot of players might let that get to them, three over through five, but I felt like I was hitting pretty good shots,” Wood said. “A couple behind going into tomorrow. Same sort of approach and attitude tomorrow and see where it gets me.”
Kinhult chipped in for birdie on the first and then made a double-bogey after going in the water on the next, but five birdies in a row from the fifth handed him a five-shot lead before he came home in level par.
“It was a bit of a shaky start, but then I just hit some good shots and felt better and better throughout the round,” he said. “The momentum kind of kept me going in there so that’s good.”
Garcia made four birdies on the front nine and four more on the back before finding water to drop a shot on the last, while Rahm had a birdie-birdie finish in his 68.
Thomas had five birdies and three bogeys in his round to sit alongside fellow American Julian Suri. The leading Scot in the field is Russell Knox who is ten off the lead after a one-over par round of 72 left on level par for the tournament. Stephen Gallacher is seven strokes behind Knox following a 75.
◆ Leonie Harm made history at Hillside as she became the first German to lift the Ladies Amateur Championship trophy.
She defeated American Stephanie Lau 3&2 to win the 18-hole final in hot and sunny conditions at Southport and book a spot in the starting field of the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes in August. She also gains exemptions into the 2018 Evian Championship, next year’s US Women’s Open, and the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship in 2019.
◆ England’s Bronte Law is four shots off the pace after battling a scorching day two at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
With the mercury reaching the mid-30s at Kemper Lakes in Ilinois, the 23-year-old mixed two bogeys with four birdies to fire a second-round 70. She sits among a nine-strong pack tied in 12th place on two under overall, chasing leaders Ryu So-yeon, Brooke Henderson and Park Sung-hyun on six-under.
Day-one leader Park followed her first-round 66 with an even 72, as Henderson joined the South Korean atop the leaderboard on a mixed day that saw her hit four bogeys and five birdies, finishing her round on one-under par 71. Scotland’s Catriona Matthew missed the cut after rounds of 75 and 77.
◆ US trio Beau Hossler, Ryan Armour and Brian Gay are tied for the lead after the second round of the Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac in Maryland.