Wood battles back to keep Kinhult in his sights at French Open

English golfer picks up eight shots in 10 holes to trail Swede by two shots

 Marcus Kinhult of Sweden plays his second shot into the 18th green during the third round of the HNA Open de France at Le Golf National  in Paris. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Marcus Kinhult of Sweden plays his second shot into the 18th green during the third round of the HNA Open de France at Le Golf National in Paris. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

 

Chris Wood produced one of the comebacks of the season to keep himself in contention on day three of the HNA Open de France, but he will have to overcome formidable opposition if he is to win his first Rolex Series event on Sunday.

The Englishman entered Saturday two shots behind leader Marcus Kinhult in Paris and that is where he ended it, although he needed a remarkable run of form around the turn to sign for a 67 and get to eight under.

A double-bogey on the fourth and a bogey on the fifth sent Wood tumbling down the leaderboard, but the 30-year-old picked up eight shots in his next 10 holes, with the help of a chip-in eagle on the ninth, to find himself just one off the lead.

A bogey on the last took some of the gloss off his surge through the field, and Wood was left looking over his shoulder as well as up at Kinhult, with 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia just one shot behind him.

World number five Jon Rahm, who will defend his Irish Open title next week, is at six under, two shots clear of world number two Justin Thomas.

“A lot of players might let that get to them, three over through five, but I felt like I was hitting pretty good shots,” Wood told www.europeantour.com.

“A couple behind going into tomorrow. Same sort of approach and attitude tomorrow and see where it gets me.”

Kinhult chipped in for birdie on the first and then made a double-bogey after going in the water on the next, but five birdies in a row from the fifth handed him a five-shot lead before he came home in level par.

“It was a bit of a shaky start, but then I just hit some good shots and felt better and better throughout the round,” he said. “The momentum kind of kept me going in there so that’s good.”

Garcia made four birdies on the front nine and four more on the back before finding water to drop a shot on the last, while Rahm had a birdie-birdie finish in his 68.

Thomas had five birdies and three bogeys in his round to sit alongside fellow American Julian Suri.

Shane Lowry started with a bogey in his third round but five birdies saw him sign for a four-under 67 as he moved into a share off 11th spot on one under. Paul Dunne remained on one under after a level-par 71, while Graeme McDowell is on two over after carding a one-under 70.

LEADERBOARD

(British and Irish unless stated, par 71)

203 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 71 65 67

205 Chris Wood 70 68 67

206 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 72 70 64

207 Jon Rahm (Esp) 70 69 68

209 Justin Thomas (USA) 70 70 69, Julian Suri (USA) 70 70 69

210 Alex Noren (Swe) 73 72 65, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 73 69 68, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 74 70 66

211 Pedro Oriol (Esp) 71 70 70

212 Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 72 69 71, Paul Dunne 74 67 71, Shane Lowry 70 75 67, Tyrrell Hatton 74 67 71, Jordan Smith 71 70 71, Thomas Detry (Bel) 74 69 69, Matthew Fitzpatrick 71 69 72

213 Wade Ormsby (Aus) 73 71 69, Russell Knox 71 70 72, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 71 71 71

214 Ricardo Gouveia (Prt) 71 74 69, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 77 69 68, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 73 71 70, David Horsey 75 71 68, Matthew Southgate 71 73 70, Henric Sturehed (Swe) 75 68 71, Ian Poulter 72 74 68, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 74 69 71, Bradley Dredge 67 72 75

215 Graeme McDowell 68 77 70, Ashley Chesters 73 72 70, Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 74 67 74, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 75 68 72, James Morrison 70 74 71, Andy Sullivan 68 75 72, Jeff Winther (Den) 77 68 70, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 74 71 70, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 69 73 73

216 Haotong Lie (Chn) 71 73 72, Felipe Aguilar (Chi) 71 74 71, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 76 69 71, Scott Hend (Aus) 75 69 72, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 72 71 73, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 76 68 72, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 71 75 70

217 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 72 72 73, Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) 71 74 72, Austin Connelly (Can) 72 71 74, Gregory Havret (Fra) 70 70 77, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 74 72 71

218 Steven Brown 77 68 73, Sam Brazel (Aus) 73 72 73, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 74 72 72

219 Dean Burmester (Rsa) 69 74 76, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 72 74 73, Alexander Levy (Fra) 73 73 73

220 Richard Bland 72 72 76, Stephen Gallacher 74 71 75

221 Brett Rumford (Aus) 71 75 75, Nacho Elvira (Esp) 74 68 79, George Coetzee (Rsa) 74 70 77, Josh Geary (Nzl) 73 73 75

222 Jamie Donaldson 71 75 76

224 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 76 66 82

225 Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 76 69 80

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