Relative unknown Chris Wood fired an eight under par 64 on Friday to grab the third round lead at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the Doha Golf Course in Doha, Qatar. It’s no fluke that the 25 year old Brit will have the lead going into Saturday’s final round, he has had 19 top ten finishes on the European Tour, and came close in the 2009 Open Championship when he finished third at Turnberry. Wood has a three stroke lead over countryman Simon Khan, Alexander Noren from Sweden, and Michael Campbell. Wood is at 15 under par.
Wood made the turn at Doha in 31, and immediately carded an eagle at the par 5 10th hole. He made one bogey at 12 before finishing the back nine in 33. After the three-putt bogey at the 12th he came back with a six foot birdie putt two holes later and pitched even closer on the 307-yard 16th. Chris Wood is ranked at 142nd in the world, and is currently 137th in Race To Dubai points, which will change drastically if he can close the deal on Saturday.
Simon Khan fired a 64 to match the leader on Friday, but his second round derailed his effort when he double bogeyed the 18th hole on Thursday and carding a one over par 73. Khan had a great round where he put up a 30 on the front nine, he went bogey free on the day. He cooled a bit on the back nine making only two birdies coming down the stretch.
After having a share of the second round lead, Ryder Cupper, Sergio Garcia bogeyed two of the final four holes to fall into a tie for fifth place with Branden Grace at -11 under par, four strokes off the pace. Garcia made some birdies on the front nine, making the turn at 33, but shot 37 on the back nine for a two under 70 on a day that Wood was red hot.
Others who were around the leaderboard after the cut, and had mediocre third rounds, that fell in the totals. First round leader Ricardo Santos, shot 76 on Saturday to fall 37 spots into a tie for 38th position. Martin Kaymer, who was at nine under when the day began, carded an even par 72, but fell into a tie for 11th place.
American Jason Dufner had a nice day, and shot a five under par 67 to climb into a tie for 19th place at eight under par. With a nice round, he still lost three strokes to the leader, and is seven shots back. I think Dufner will be glad to get back to the friendly confines of the good ole USA.
The Qatar Masters is a rare tournament that runs from Wednesday thru the final round on Saturday afternoon because of a Mid East holiday that begins on Sunday.
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