|British Masters third-round leaderboard (Eng unless stated)|
|-9: E Pepperell -6: A Bjork (Swe), J Suri (US), J Guerrier (Fra), J Smith -4: A Pavan (Ita), M Wallace|
|Selected others:-4 M Wallace -3 M Fitzpatrick -2 T Fleetwood -1 J Rose|
England’s Eddie Pepperell will take a three-shot lead into the final day of the British Masters after a one-under 71 in the third round moved him to nine under par.
The 27-year-old, seeking his second European Tour title, hit two bogeys and a birdie and was four clear when he holed an eagle on the par-five 11th.
Victory on Sunday would see him break into the world’s top 35.
“I felt comfortable out there,” said Qatar Masters winner Pepperell.
“I didn’t see any shots that frightened me and it’s about time I kicked on and won another event.
“I’m confident I can shoot three or four under on Sunday and make everyone else’s life more difficult.”
Fellow Englishman Jordan Smith is one of four tied for second on six under, alongside Sweden’s Alexander Bjork, American Julian Suri, and Julien Guerrier of France.
England’s Matt Wallace, who shared the first-round lead with Pepperell and Tommy Fleetwood, is another two shots back in a tie for sixth with Italy’s Andrea Pavan.
Fleetwood, part of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team earlier this month, is seven shots off the lead after a two-under 70, while tournament host Justin Rose is a further shot back after carding a 69.
A top-two finish at Walton Heath would send Rose, 38, top of the world rankings for the second time this season.
“That hasn’t actually been on my mind,” said the 2002 British Masters champion.
“It’s going to be tough to get there as I’ve got a lot of points to defend, but I’ve just got to focus on playing well.”