Hend hits front as Willett's Wentworth bid unravels

Sat May 28, 2016 1:31pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - A last-gasp eagle gave Scott Hend the outright lead in the BMW PGA Championship on Saturday, the Australian taking advantage as Danny Willett's challenge unravelled in spectacular style.

The back nine at Wentworth is unlikely to go down as U.S. Masters winner Willett's favourite piece of land after he suffered on the inward half for the second successive day.

The 28-year-old Englishman spoiled a tournament-record 29 on the outward half on Friday by plunging to a 39 on the homeward trek and fared two strokes worse on that stretch of holes in the third round, taking 41 shots to finish with a four-over 76.

Willett, however, is still in title contention on six-under 210, three behind Hend who had a tap-in eagle putt at the 18th to return a 73.

"Hit some bad golf shots out there," Willett told reporters at the European Tour's flagship event. "We had everything under control and then a couple of loose shots, a couple of bad decisions, a couple of missed putts and very quickly it slipped away.

"Back nine needs a lot more of a draw off the tee and I obviously struggle hitting the draw. The front nine sets up quite nice, trying to hit a fade there most of the time."

Tyrrell Hatton compiled the best round of the day, a 66 moving him within one stroke of the lead. Fellow Englishman Lee Westwood (68) shared third place on 209 with South Korean Yang Yong-eun (75).

Like Willett, Hend toiled on the back nine, dropping shots at the 13th, 14th and 15th before making amends with his second three at the 18th in consecutive days.   Continued...

Britain Golf - BMW PGA Championship - Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey, England - 28/5/16. England's Danny Willett (R) and Australia's Scott Hend shake hands at the end of the third round. Action Images / Andrew Boyers