Pepperell retains three-shot lead at British Masters

Eddie Pepperell will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the British Masters after fending off the chasing pack on Saturday.

The Englishman claimed his first European Tour title at the Qatar Masters in February and stayed on course to add a second at Walton Heath.

Pepperell headed into moving day with a three-shot at advantage and ended it with the same cushion on nine under after carding a one-under 71.

The world number 50 dropped a shot at the third hole, but led by four strokes when he drained a birdie putt at the fourth.

Pepperell was only two in front after he reeled off six pars in a row, but had more breathing space when he sunk a 14-foot putt for an eagle three at 11.

A second bogey followed at the next, but he remains in a strong position after finishing with six consecutive pars.

Alexander Bjork, Julian Suri, Julien Guerrier and Jordan Smith are in a share of second place.

Swede Bjork made strides with a four-under 68, with Suri signing for a 69. Smith and Guerrier stayed firmly in contention with rounds of 70.

Andrea Pavan charged up the leaderboard by matching the lowest round of the week, a five-under 67 putting him level with Matt Wallace at five shots behind Pepperell.

European Ryder Cup heroes Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari will start their final rounds on two under, one under and five over respectively.