• Qatar Masters, Round Three

Wood in hunt for first Tour win

ESPN staff
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Chris Wood has only won one professional competition © Getty Images
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Qatar Masters leaderboard

England's Chris Wood is well in the hunt for a maiden European Tour victory at the Qatar Masters in Doha as he blitzed the front nine on day three to lead the field by three shots.

The 25-year-old is a former European Tour rookie of the year but only has one professional win under his belt - which he secured in August 2012 at the Thailand Open.

He has had three runner-up finishes and in 2009 he missed out on making a play-off by one shot on the final day of the Open Championship.

At the Doha Golf Club, Wood put his indifferent second day behind him and hit an excellent round of 64 to make him the early leader at 15-under and no-one came close to challenging him.

After carding five birdies on the front nine he added an eagle at the 10th hole. A bogey at the 12th set the Bristolian back briefly but he ended his round with two more birdies to finish eight-under on the day. His third round comes after a 70, which featured four bogeys, on day two but his opening day was a more precise 67.

Despite sitting on a comfortable lead Wood was partly critical of his day's work. "I'm very excited. I wouldn't say it was one of my best rounds, but I played very solidly and was giving myself loads of chances," he said.

"Going out I thought as long as I kept myself in the mix going into tomorrow, then I was going to be really looking forward to it. Leading gives me a bit of a cushion. Obviously it's going to be hard. It's hard to win any tournament on the European Tour, so it's going to be difficult."

Compatriot Simon Khan started his third round in even better shape than Wood as he picked off birdies on four consecutive holes and was one-under on six of the first nine.

But he failed to match his early form on the back nine and only picked up two birdies - although he avoided the nightmare finish which afflicted him the day before at the 18th when he hit a double bogey - and is tied in second with Alexander Noren and Michael Campbell.

Martin Kaymer had a share of the overnight lead going into the day but bogeyed twice in his first nine holes and never really recovered to finish with par and tied in 11th place overall, six shots behind Wood.

The man he had shared the top perch with the night before, Sergio Garcia, also struggled to replicate his form and faded in the latter stages, carding two bogeys. But at 11-under overall he is tied in fifth and could mount a serious threat to Wood on the final day.

World No. 5 Louis Oosthuizen's improving form on the course continued as he hit his best round so far, a 68, but still languishes in 15th, tied with seven others.

But Justin Rose was less impressive as he shook off a lack of inspiration on the front nine, in which he carded par, only to replace it with a hit-and-miss style that saw him sink three birdies but also two bogeys. His round of 71 would have been particularly frustrating for the world No. 4 after his opening round 68, and he is now nine shots off the lead.

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