Hanson: I need to bring 'A-game'
Peter Hanson suspects that nothing less than his top form will do if he is to stop Rory McIlroy winning for a fifth time this year in Shanghai.
"I have to bring my A-game to beat him - he looks very motivated, very focused," the Swede said after a third-round 70 at the BMW Masters on Saturday left him only one ahead of his Ryder Cup team-mate.
All four of the world number one's victories this season have come in America, including the second eight-shot major win of his career, but he is back now on the same Lake Malaren course where he pocketed the Shanghai Masters - and a first prize of £1.25million - 12 months ago.
This time the winner's cheque is 'only' £721,000, but it would give McIlroy a huge lead in the European Tour money list race with only four more weeks to go. He already has the PGATour title in the bag.
He shared the lead when Hanson had three bogeys in five holes from the fourth, but the 35-year-old came back with four birdies to reach 16 under par.
McIlroy matched two of them and also holed a 14-foot putt on the 16th, but he then lipped out from nine feet at the short next and also parred the last for a 69.
"Conditions were a bit trickier," said the 23-year-old Northern Irish star. "They moved a few tees around and the wind was up a bit and from a different direction.
"You had to think about it a bit more, but I kept myself in the tournament and it's always nice to go out in the last group on the last day. I'll go out there and give it my all."
The pair swapped Ryder Cup memories during the round and also talked cars.
"I'm a big car freak and have ordered a pick-up truck over in America, while Rory's going for a big Lamborghini," Hanson said.
South African George Coetzee, yet to win on the European Tour, was three off the pace after a 65 took him from eighth to third on his own.
Six players were two strokes further back: Ryder Cup pair Justin Rose and Luke Donald, Swede Alex Noren, South Africa's 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Irish duo Shane Lowry and Michael Hoey.
Lowry, who won the Portugal Masters two weeks ago and as a result dropped plans to attend the PGA Tour qualifying school in the hope of climbing into the world's top 50, said: "I had a rocky patch in the middle and was a bit disappointed to miss a putt at the last, but it was another good day at the office."
Rose, second to McIlroy on the Race to Dubai standings, also shot 69 and said: "I woke up with a bit of a niggle in my back and was not feeling very good with my game, but I hung around."
Highlight of his round was driving the green at the dogleg 380-yard 11th and sinking a 30-foot eagle putt.
Donald's chances nosedived after he went in the water and took six on the reachable long 13th.
"I felt I lost a shot and a half to the field there," said the former world number one, the first man to achieve the trans-Atlantic money list double that McIlroy is now going for.
"My swing is not quite where I'd like it to be and I feel a bit uncomfortable, but that happens sometimes after a break."
Medinah heroes Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer were seven and six back respectively, while Welshman Jamie Donaldson, who led by four after his course record opening 62, was now eight behind after rounds of 74 and 72.