(Reuters) – Italy’s Francesco Laporta shot three birdies and an eagle en route to a solid three-under 69 that gave him a one-shot lead after the third round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Saturday.

Laporta began in third place at 11-under and quickly seized the lead, hitting a brilliant second shot on the par-five fourth that allowed him to make eagle. He followed that up with birdies on the 11th and the 16th, ending on 14-under.

One shot back was Englishman Laurie Canter who had a mixed day but stayed in contention due to a steady back nine, making birdies on the 12th and 17th and finishing with a two-under 70.

Overnight leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand endured a difficult day on the greens, getting off to a horrid start with bogeys on the second and the third. After a series of pars, he again bogeyed the 18th after finding the water, shooting a two-over 74 that left him four shots off the pace.

Ryder Cup hopeful Shane Lowry kept his chances alive of playing for Europe with a three-under 69 that was made possible by a terrific birdie putt on the 18th.

The Irishman joined Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger on 11-under, with both men in line to make the European team, pushing Lee Westwood — who was at five-under for the tournament — out of the automatic qualification spots.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

All copyrights for this article are reserved to The Star