Golf: Hend hits front as Willett's Wentworth challenge unravels

Hend plays his tee shot on the 13th hole during the third day of the PGA Championship at Wentworth on May 28, 2016.
Hend plays his tee shot on the 13th hole during the third day of the PGA Championship at Wentworth on May 28, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

VIRGINIA WATER, England (REUTERS) - Australian Scott Hend sprinted to the top of the BMW PGA Championship leaderboard on Saturday, taking full advantage as overnight pacesetter Danny Willett's title challenge unravelled in spectacular style.

The back nine at Wentworth is unlikely to go down as US Masters winner Willett's favourite piece of land after he suffered on the inward half for the second successive day.

The 28-year-old Englishman marred a tournament-record 29 on the outward half on Friday by plunging to a 39 on the homeward trek and fared two strokes worse on that stretch of holes in the third round, taking 41 shots to finish with a four-over 76.

Willett, however, is still in title contention on six-under 210, three behind Hend who had a tap-in eagle putt at the 18th hole to return a 73.

Hend is bidding to become the first Australian winner of the European Tour's flagship event since Mike Harwood in 1991.

Tyrrell Hatton compiled the best round of the day, a 66 moving him within one stroke of Hend.

Fellow Englishman Lee Westwood (68) shared third place on 209 with South Korean Yang Yong-eun (75).