Pepperell leads by one shot heading into final round at The Belfry

By Sports Desk May 14, 2021

Eddie Pepperell holed a long-range birdie at the last hole to take a one-shot lead into Saturday's final round of the British Masters at The Belfry.

The 30-year-old was a shot back from overnight leaders Calum Hill, Robert MacIntyre and Richard Bland at the start of play on Friday, but a second successive 68 moved him into the lead.

Pepperell, who won the tournament in 2018, finished strongly with three birdies in his last seven holes - including an impressive 40-foot putt on the 18th.

That moved the world number 210 to 10 under for the tournament, with six players - including erstwhile leaders Hill and MacIntyre - in a tie for second.

Edoardo Molinari, Adrian Meronk, Dean Burmester and Guido Migliozzi were all also a stroke off the pace in a congested pack that saw the leading 26 players separated by five shots at the 54-hole stage.

"I remember the game feeling easier when I was playing better a few years ago. That's what I'm trying to get back to," Pepperell told Sky Sports.

"There were times out there today I didn't get it and times when I did - that seems to be the way it is.

"I've still got things going on in the swing that I can feel aren't where they once were and can cause me aggro, so the game still feels difficult."

Pre-tournament favourite MacIntyre dropped his only shot of the day on the par-four 10th hole as he failed to recover from a wayward tee shot.

"The way I play golf is aggressive and the course suits me perfectly," MacIntyre said. "When I'm in the fairway, a right-hand side pin is in danger, I just can't leave it alone.

"I didn't drive it my best today but I hit my irons beautifully - they were all over the pin but the putter was cold. It was on fire the day before so hopefully it turns up tomorrow."

Three birdies in his last four holes ensured that MacIntyre's fellow Scotsman Hill also remained firmly in the mix, while Molinari revived his own hopes by posting a 64, the lowest score of the day.

Related items

  • Haye and Munn-Barrow lead heading into Monday's final day of JGA National Amateur Championships Haye and Munn-Barrow lead heading into Monday's final day of JGA National Amateur Championships

    Oshae Haye and Jodi Munn-Barrow headed into Monday’s final day the leaders of the three-day Jamaica Golf Association's National Amateur Golf Championship being played at the Sandals Golf & Country Club in St. Ann.

  • US PGA Championship: Mito Pereira says he felt the pressure during 18th-hole collapse US PGA Championship: Mito Pereira says he felt the pressure during 18th-hole collapse

    Mito Pereira said he felt the pressure during his painful collapse on the 18th hole, which cost him the US PGA Championship.

    The Chilean has never won on the PGA Tour, but after leading by three strokes heading into Sunday's play, he appeared poised to win 2022's second major when he stepped up to the 18th tee with a one-stroke lead. It could have been a two-stroke lead, but his birdie putt on the 17th came up just inches short.

    The 27-year-old sliced his tee shot on the 18th hole, the ball eventually bouncing into the small creek. A bogey would have seen him join the playoff but his approach to the green went long, and the ensuing chip also dribbled off the back of the putting surface, ending in a double-bogey.

    Speaking to the media as Will Zalatoris and eventual winner Justin Thomas competed in the three-hole playoff, Pereira said he was still proud of his efforts.

    "It's tough, you know, to finish like that," he said. "A really good week, but I didn't play really well today.

    "I just needed to do a couple more birdies, and hit it a little bit better to win.

    "I'm just happy with how the week turned out – on Monday I just wanted to make the cut, and on Sunday I wanted to win. I'll take this and learn for the future."

    When asked about his performance on the 18th, he called it "weird", admitting he did not consider the possibility of the water coming into play.

    "I was okay – it was weird," he said. 

    "[The drive] wasn't a good stroke, but I just wasn't thinking about the water. I thought it was weird that it went in [the water]. 

    "I guess when you have so much pressure on your body, maybe you don't even know what you're doing."

  • US PGA Championship: Two-time champion Justin Thomas breaks down 'very special' and 'bizarre' final round US PGA Championship: Two-time champion Justin Thomas breaks down 'very special' and 'bizarre' final round

    Justin Thomas gushed over how special it feels to finally be a two-time major champion after winning the US PGA Championship for the second time.

    Thomas first won it in 2017 at Quail Hollow, and has now repeated the feat five years later, this time at Southern Hills Country Club.

    He prevailed in a playoff against Will Zalatoris after outright leader Mito Pereira capitulated on the 18th hole, double-bogeying to finish one stroke behind the new leading pair at five under. Thomas had trailed Pereira by eight strokes coming into Sunday's play.

    Speaking to the media after stepping off the 18th green, Thomas had one specific shot in mind – and it was not one of his best, highlighting a pure shank off the tee on the sixth hole.

    "It was a bizarre day," he said. "I have definitely crossed one off the list – I have never won a tournament shanking a ball on Sunday, so that was the first, and I would really like it to be the last.

    "Bones [caddie Jim 'Bones' Mackay] did an unbelievable job of just keeping me in the moment and I just tried to play the golf course for what it is.

    "This place is so tough. It was funny – I was asked earlier in the week about what lead is safe and I said 'no lead' because this place is so tough. But if you hit the fairways you can make birdies, and I stayed so patient. 

    "I could not believe that I found myself in a play-off."

    Later when speaking to Sky Sports, Thomas reflected on just how difficult it is to win a major after some questioned if he would finish his career with just the one, and admitted he did not check the leaderboard all day.

    "It is very, very special," he said. "Anytime you win is obviously great, but getting it done different ways teaches you a lot. 

    "This golf course is tough. Winning tournaments is tough. Winning a major is tough.

    "I just tried to stay patient, and I felt when I somehow got myself in the play-off it was time to get after it and get it done.

    "I did not look at the leaderboard today – Bones did an unbelievable job of just keeping me in the moment. We were just out playing Southern Hills on a beautiful day, on a Sunday.

    "I could kind of feel through the energy in the crowd that I had a chance, and I know that all the players up ahead of me are great players, but had not won a major, and it is a big moment. 

    "I know I am very nervous, so I know they are very nervous, and I just tried to tell myself that all I can do is control what I can and if it's good enough, great, if not, so be it.

    "It is awesome. it is so nice to hear two-time [champion] instead of one-time."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.