Bjorn races 5 clear at Wentworth

 

The Sports Network

Surrey, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Thomas Bjorn bounced back from an early double-bogey Saturday with an impressive back nine to jump out to a 5-stroke lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

The 15-time winner on the European Tour birdied seven of his last eight holes to close out a 5-under 67 and finish three rounds at Wentworth Club at 15- under-par 201.

"There are a couple of names on that leaderboard who can't be counted out," Bjorn said about his approach entering Sunday's final round. "I have to play some good golf and be smart and aggressive when I can be and keep them at arms' length. If I get off to a bad start, it's a wide open tournament."

Luke Donald shot a 68 to move into second place at 10-under, while Shane Lowry (73) is alone in third at minus-9.

Rory McIlroy (69) and Joost Luiten (67) shared fourth at 8-under, a shot ahead of Pablo Larrazabal (69).

Henrik Stenson (71) headlines a group of eight players tied for seventh place at 6-under 210. He is joined by Francesco Molinari (65), Anthony Wall (67), Eddie Pepperell (68), Jamie Donaldson (68), Chris Doak (69), Thomas Aiken (70) and Andy Sullivan (69).

Bjorn and Lowery entered the third round tied for the lead at 10-under, but the tie did not last long as Bjorn's errant drive at the first led to a 2-putt double-bogey, handing Lowry a 2-stroke advantage.

Lowry then failed to get up and down for par from a greenside bunker at the third to fall to minus-9 and cut his lead to one over Bjorn and Donald, who eagled the fourth from 30 feet to grab a share of second place.

Lowry bounced back with a birdie at the fourth, where he blasted out of a bunker to five feet and converted his putt to regain his 2-stroke advantage.

After Bjorn traded a bogey at the fifth with a birdie at the sixth to maintain his share of second place, Aiken holed out his second shot at the ninth for an eagle to make it a three-way tie at 8-under.

Aiken, who had two birdies and six pars over his previous eight holes, then birdied the 10th to break from the pack and move into sole possession of second at minus-9.

Lowry's 3-putt bogey at the eighth dropped him to 9-under and into a tie with Aiken moments before Aiken dropped a shot at the 11th to fall to 8-under and leave Lowry alone atop the leaderboard.

Bjorn snapped a streak of four straight pars with a birdie at the 11th to grab a share of the lead.

Lowry then 2-putted for bogey after finding a greenside bunker at the 12th to fall to 8-under and leave Bjorn alone in first before Bjorn converted a 5-foot birdie at the 12th to move two clear of the field at minus-10.

Bjorn would go on to birdie the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th to reach 14-under and open up a 6-stroke lead over Donald, Lowry and Luiten.

Aiken had earlier bogeyed the 15th to lose his share of second place before a double-bogey at the 16th dropped him well off the pace, while Luiten recorded the fourth and fifth birdies of his bogey-free round at the 16th and 17th to reach 8-under.

Bjorn parred the 17th to snap his birdie streak, but picked up another shot at the 18th to end at 15-under.

"I got off to a really rough start with a lot of loose swings early on, but hit a really good shot on 10 and started to feel more comfortable," said Bjorn. "I was proud of the way I handled the round and proud of my determination and the way I stayed with my golf. It was a remarkable run of holes."

Donald, meanwhile, birdied the 17th and 18th to claim sole possession of second place and Lowry birdied the 17th to finish a shot behind him at 9- under.

Notes: The start of the third round was delayed three hours due to heavy rains overnight and tee times were changed from twosomes to threesomes ... If he hangs on for the win, Bjorn would be the eighth wire-to-wire winner of the tournament ... Donald is seeking his third career win at this event. He would become the fifth player to win the BMW PGA Championship at least three times.

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