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Eddie Pepperell leads at the British Masters
Eddie Pepperell leads at the British Masters

Eddie Pepperell holed a long-range birdie at the last hole to take a one-shot lead into Saturday's final round of the British Masters at The Belfry.

The 30-year-old was a shot back from overnight leaders Calum Hill, Robert MacIntyre and Richard Bland at the start of play on Friday, but a second successive 68 moved him into the lead.

Pepperell, who won the tournament in 2018, finished strongly with three birdies in his last seven holes - including an impressive 40-foot putt on the 18th.

That moved the world number 210 to 10 under for the tournament, with six players - including erstwhile leaders Hill and MacIntyre - in a tie for second.

Edoardo Molinari, Adrian Meronk, Dean Burmester and Guido Migliozzi were all also a stroke off the pace in a congested pack that saw the leading 26 players separated by five shots at the 54-hole stage.

"I remember the game feeling easier when I was playing better a few years ago. That's what I'm trying to get back to," Pepperell told Sky Sports.

"There were times out there today I didn't get it and times when I did - that seems to be the way it is.

"I've still got things going on in the swing that I can feel aren't where they once were and can cause me aggro, so the game still feels difficult."

Pre-tournament favourite MacIntyre dropped his only shot of the day on the par-four 10th hole as he failed to recover from a wayward tee shot.

"The way I play golf is aggressive and the course suits me perfectly," MacIntyre said. "When I'm in the fairway, a right-hand side pin is in danger, I just can't leave it alone.

"I didn't drive it my best today but I hit my irons beautifully - they were all over the pin but the putter was cold. It was on fire the day before so hopefully it turns up tomorrow."

Three birdies in his last four holes ensured that MacIntyre's fellow Scotsman Hill also remained firmly in the mix, while Molinari revived his own hopes by posting a 64, the lowest score of the day.

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