VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - Francesco Molinari and An Byeong Hun shared the lead at the BMW PGA Championship but it was Miguel Angel Jimenez and Tommy Fleetwood who produced the real third-round fireworks on Saturday.
Pony-tailed Spaniard Jimenez registered the 10th hole-in-one of his career, a European Tour record, while shaggy-haired Englishman Fleetwood notched the third albatross in the history of the tournament.
Italian Molinari, who has been at the top of the leaderboard since day one, posted a four-under 68 while South Korean An went one better than his playing partner as the pair finished two shots clear of the field on 14-under 202.
Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (68) was in third place on 204, one ahead of Fleetwood (65) and two in front of 2008 champion Jimenez (68).
The 51-year-old Spaniard, a favorite of the Wentworth crowd, performed a jig of delight after watching his nine-iron tee shot land six feet beyond the pin at the 154-yard second before spinning back into the cup.
The ace, his third of the season and second in nine days after he also recorded a hole-in-one at last week’s Spanish Open, meant he overhauled Briton Colin Montgomerie’s career tally of nine.
Fleetwood conjured another wonder shot when his second stroke went straight into the hole for a two at the 552-yard, par-five fourth.
“I had 198 yards to the pin with a little down breeze and it was pretty much a normal seven-iron,” the 24-year-old told reporters.
“I hit the perfect shot eight feet right of the pin and luckily it spun left. It’s the first albatross I’ve ever had.”
Editing by Douglas Beattie