Korea’s Byeong-hun An pulled himself level with Francesco Molinari with one round to go in the BMW PGA Championship as the Italian missed late opportunities to maintain his long-held lead.
The former Ryder Cup player has been in front on his own from the first day at Wentworth but lost his one shot lead over An formerly the youngest-ever US Amateur champion on the final hole.
An’s birdie-birdie finish allowed him to make up a two-shot deficit on Molinari, who missed a six-foot birdie chance on the 17th green and then had to scramble for his par on the last after his tee-shot hung on the lip of a bunker.
An eventually completed a five-under 67 to the Italian’s 68 to go level on 14-under for the final 18 holes, with Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee in third two strokes behind. Tommy Fleetwood is alone in fourth three back.
Molinari seemed to have control on the back nine, especially after An’s bogey five at the 15th gave him a two-shot advantage for the final stretch.
However the Korean responded by playing the final two par fives in perfect fashion for birdies, while Molinari couldn’t respond. In the end, after hitting a poor third at the last, he needed a neat chip from the right of the green to save his par.
The absence of Rory McIlroy after missing the cut had only a slight effect on the galleries, but there was plenty of spectacular scoring on show, not least from the peerless Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Making a bid at 51 to regain the title he won in 2008, the Spaniard had his second hole-in-one in as many weeks at the short second.
It was his tenth ace in European Tour play, a new record with his hole-in-one in the Spanish Open last week having tied Colin Montgomerie’s previous mark of nine.
However two bogeys on the back nine by the veteran Spaniard left him wavering before a final hole birdie got him back to within four of the two leaders.
England’s Fleetwood had a full house on the West Course par fives, starting with only the third albatross in the history of the championship, holing his second shot seven-iron from 198 yards out at the fourth.
He followed with an eagle on the 12th, a birdie at the 17th and a par at the last, all leading to a seven-under 65 that left the former Johnnie Walker Championship winner in third, three behind the leader.
“At the moment, winning kind of depends on what Frankie is doing, and he’s played well again today,” said Fleetwood.
“All you can do is kind of concentrate on what you’re doing and another round like today won’t do me any harm. I started the day six back and now I’m closer. Any time you get close to the lead on a Saturday, that’s good.
Best Scottish player is Marc Warren, who had a one-under 71 to lie in a tie for 26th place on three-under for the championship.