Pepperell sitting pretty at British Masters

Molinari currently leads the Race to Dubai

Pepperell carded a third round of 71 at Walton Heath to finish nine under par, with fellow Englishman Jordan Smith, Sweden's Alexander Bjork, American Julian Suri and France's Julien Guerrier all six under.

Eddie Pepperell moved into a three-stroke clubhouse lead and Tommy Fleetwood lost ground at the British Masters on Friday after a second round when only three players shot in the 60s at windy Walton Heath.

Pepperell captured his maiden European Tour title at the Qatar Masters earlier this year, and now finds himself in a great position to take a second. The top 50 at the end of the year are guaranteed a place in the first major of the year at Augusta National in April. On his ace, Pepperell said: 'It was a freakish shot from where I was standing. I get to see America five, six times a year and I think that's flawless. Starting at No. 10, he dropped a shot at three of his first four holes and again at his eighth hole as sideways winds made scoring hard.

England's Matt Wallace, who shared the first-round lead with Pepperell and Tommy Fleetwood, is another two shots back in a tie for sixth with Italy's Andrea Pavan.

"Ask me in 24 hours when, hopefully, I've got the trophy, I'll be ecstatic".

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The Ryder Cup hero went from a 67 on day to a 77 on day two to fall eight shots off the pace.

A top-two finish would see Rose, below, reach the top of the world rankings for the second time this season, the 38-year-old having spent two weeks as No.1 in September.

"That hasn't actually been on my mind", Rose said.

"I've seen other guys make them every other week and always thought, 'I feel like I hit good iron shots but have never made one'".

'I played terrible in the pro-am on Wednesday, probably the worst I have in a while and wouldn't say I played great today but had that really hot run and it's great to be at the top.' Fleetwood's own round was not without incident, with his only bogey of the day coming after an errant tee shot on the par-three 17th finished in a cup holder in a buggy which had been parked to the left of the green. "You can't force it".

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