Åberg opens up two-shot lead in BMW PGA Championship

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Tommy Fleetwood and Connor Syme head the chasing pack after 54 holes at Wentworth, with Jon Rahm four off the pace heading into Sunday’s final round which has been brought forward due to bad weather; watch live on Sky Sports Golf from 10am with Featured Group coverage from 8.30am

Last Updated: 16/09/23 6:53pm

Ludvig Åberg carded a six-under 66 to take a two-shot lead in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth

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Ludvig Åberg carded a six-under 66 to take a two-shot lead in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth

Ludvig Åberg carded a six-under 66 to take a two-shot lead in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth

Ludvig Åberg will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the BMW PGA Championship after continuing his sensational form with a six-under 66 in the third round at Wentworth.

The 23-year-old Swede, who is bidding for back-to-back victories after winning the European Masters earlier this month to earn a Ryder Cup call-up, carded an eagle, five birdies and just one bogey to keep the chasing pack at bay as he finished on 16 under.

His nearest pursuers on 14 under are England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Connor Syme of Scotland, although there are a number of players still within striking distance and ready to take advantage of any Sunday slip-ups by Åberg.

Åberg, who only turned professional in June, started the day in a tie for the lead on 10 under with his compatriot Sebastian Soderberg, but took command at the par-five fourth when he made an eagle after knocking his second to around six feet as Soderberg fell out of contention with a triple-bogey.

Machine-like golf from Åberg then earned him birdies at the seventh, eighth and 12th as he opened up a two-shot cushion despite a number of players keeping tabs on him.

A hook into the trees off the 13th tee then looked like the pressure was starting to tell on Åberg as he took a drop and hacked out before leaving himself with a 36-footer for a bogey which he promptly drained for a massive confidence-booster.

The 15th was a perfectly-played hole which secured him another birdie and he then missed decent chances at the 16th and 17th before making a further gain from a greenside bunker at the 18th.

Åberg said it is 'pretty surreal' to be leading at Wentworth

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Åberg said it is ‘pretty surreal’ to be leading at Wentworth

Åberg said it is ‘pretty surreal’ to be leading at Wentworth

“It was a lot of fun,” said Åberg. “I felt like I was striking the ball pretty good today even though I had a few left misses with my driver but ended up with some key saves here and there, and then with a few nice shots coming in.

“I think even if I wasn’t leading, I’d be looking forward to playing a Sunday round at Wentworth. Such an iconic place and I’m just fortunate to play good golf the last three days and hopefully I’ll keep playing.

“I almost got a little bit of a warm-up the first two days playing with Rory (McIlroy), a lot of stuff going on. I felt like I handled it well the last two days and did the same today where I kept my feet where they are and tried to focus on one shot at a time. Hopefully I’ll do the same tomorrow and play some good golf.”

Fleetwood made an early slip with a bogey at the third but bounced back with an eagle at the fourth followed by a birdie at the fifth.

Further birdies at the 10th, 12th and 17th kept him in touch with Åberg as he signed for a 67 to sit ready to pounce in the final round, for which tee times have been brought forward due to the threat of bad weather.

Tommy Fleetwood said he was not as 'flawless' as he was during the second round at the BMW PGA Championship

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Tommy Fleetwood said he was not as ‘flawless’ as he was during the second round at the BMW PGA Championship

Tommy Fleetwood said he was not as ‘flawless’ as he was during the second round at the BMW PGA Championship

Fleetwood said: “It is so much fun playing in front of a crowd like this, and you’re getting rooted for all the way around. I’d love tomorrow to play well down the stretch and give them something to cheer about. It’s such a cool atmosphere to play in. I look forward to that and keeping the crowd on myself.

“It’s a huge event and something that everybody on The European Tour aims for in their career, and playing tomorrow with a chance and hopefully to be able to do it would really be great. I really look forward to it.”

Syme stormed through the field with a run of four birdies and an eagle (at the 12th) in seven holes from the turn, but he was unable to take advantage of the two closing par-fives as back-to-back pars secured him a seven-under 65.

That score was bettered by Callum Shinkwin, who had ended a run of nine successive missed cuts at last week’s Irish Open, as he rattled in eight birdies in a flawless 64, while his fellow Englishman Aaron Rai did manage to birdie the 18th for a 67 to join him on 13 under.

Callum Shinkwin said it would be 'massive' to win at 'iconic' Wentworth

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Callum Shinkwin said it would be ‘massive’ to win at ‘iconic’ Wentworth

Callum Shinkwin said it would be ‘massive’ to win at ‘iconic’ Wentworth

Also on 13 under is New Zealander Ryan Fox, whose colourful 66 included eagles at the fourth and 12th, five birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey at the fifth.

Jon Rahm, who has finished second on both his previous appearances at Wentworth, was hot on Åberg’s tail when he made five birdies in six holes from the third as he produced a variety of excellent shots.

A further birdie followed at the 11th before a poor second shot at the 12th saw him play some ragged golf for a spell with two bogeys preceding closing birdies at 17 and 18th which earned the Spaniard a 66 and put him firmly back in contention at 12 under.

Jon Rahm went through a bad patch on the back nine but remains firmly in contention

Jon Rahm went through a bad patch on the back nine but remains firmly in contention

Rahm’s European Ryder Cup team-mates Sepp Straka (69) and Tyrrell Hatton (68) both remain in the running on 11 under, while Viktor Hovland (67) will still hope to strike from 10 under, although defending champion Shane Lowry (67) may just be too far off the pace on nine under.

Belgium’s Thomas Detry found himself at the top of the leaderboard alongside Åberg after four birdies in his first eight holes, but a poor back nine, culminating in a double-bogey at the last, saw him finish down on 10 under following a 71.

Friday’s delays meant a late two-tee start to the third round with Rory McIlroy, who just made the cut, teeing off at the ninth from where he carded a 67, which featured seven birdies and two bogeys, to move to six under.

Rory Mcllroy chips the ball in from off the green for a birdie on the 16th

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Rory Mcllroy chips the ball in from off the green for a birdie on the 16th

Rory Mcllroy chips the ball in from off the green for a birdie on the 16th

Soderberg went on to add another triple-bogey at the 17th in a round of 79 which dropped him back to three under, while Masahiro Kawamura, who was also in the final group tumbled, down to five under following a triple-bogey at the last for a 76.

Sky Sports’ live coverage of the BMW PGA Championship continues with the final round on Sunday with Featured Groups from 8.30am ahead of full coverage from the earlier time of 10am on Sky Sports Golf.

Live coverage from the opening day of the Ryder Cup begins on Friday September 29 from 6am on Sky Sports Golf, while live programming begins on Monday September 25. Stream the PGA Tour, DP Tour, Ryder Cup and more with NOW.

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