English golfer Morrison loses lead at Wentworth
26 May 2012 - 17:16:56
England's James Morrison surrendered his PGA Championship lead after a miserable opening nine holes in the third round at Wentworth on Saturday.
Morrison had carded an impressive 64 on Friday to take a four-shot lead at the European Tour's flagship event, but that majestic form deserted him overnight after an early triple-bogey eight put a major dent in his confidence.
The 27-year-old world number 236 bogeyed the first after hitting his second into sand and then found all manner of trouble on the long fourth.
In the right rough off the tee he hooked out of bounds and then hit his fourth shot back into the trees, duffed a chip and by taking three more fell one behind.
Morrison's woes continued as he fell to nine over for the day by the ninth hole, leaving him at just three under for the tournament.
The new leader after 11 holes was Ireland's Peter Lawrie on 10 under, while defending champion Luke Donald trailed by just one shot, with England's Justin Rose a further shot behind in third.
Donald, needing a top-eight finish to go back to world number one after Rory McIlroy's second successive missed cut, bunkered on the first, but saved par from 12 feet.
He was then on the green in two at the fourth and two-putted to move to keep his momentum going.
Earlier, Lee Westwood was unable to close the gap on the leaders as the Englishman's hopes of ending his long wait for victory at Wentworth were shattered.
Westwood is making his 19th appearance at the European Tour's flagship event and he came in with high hopes of lifting the trophy after losing a play-off to Donald last year.
But the 39-year-old's erratic form this week, 18 birdies in three days have been offset by eight bogeys, three doubles and a triple, has left him well off the pace.
Westwood, who is one under for the tournament after three rounds, only just made the cut on Friday and he needed a superb effort on Saturday to have any chance of setting up a final day charge.
In the event, he fell well short.
"I've just got a destructive one in there. It's a bit of a pull hook and it's my bad shot when I'm not swinging well," Westwood said.
"I'm a bit tired. I've played a lot this year already."
He was also hindered by missing three times from inside five feet on greens that are again causing most players a lot of problems.
"Unique," he said when asked about the greens. "You'd like to see a bit more of a growing season. You're fighting it a bit."