Luke Donald's pursuit of Rory McIlroy's World No.1 ranking went into overdrive at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth with a third round 69 leaving him two shots clear of fellow Englishman Justin Rose ahead of Sunday's climax.

With McIlroy having missed the cut after a disaterous second round on Friday, the defending champion collected 10 pars from the first 11 holes, before birdies at 12, 13 and 18 left him 11-under for the tournament, a lead of two-shots heading into the final round.

He'll be accompanied in the final pairing at the Surrey-based course by Rose, who replicated Donald's round of 69 to set up an all English showdown.

Luke Donald
Donald leads Rose by two shots going into Sunday's final round.

The chasing pack include a trio of South Africans; led by Ernie Els, one of the day's biggest movers, Irishman Peter Lawrie and 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie.

However, the crescendo of the European Tour's flagship event is likely to be dominated by players from England, with Ian Poulter and James Morrison ready to pounce should the leaders be bamboozled by the course's swirling winds.

The pair, both on three-under par, had contrasting third rounds, with overnight leader Morrison carding three bogeys and two triple bogeys in a nine-over par round of 81, while World No.28 Poulter will be rueing dropped shots at 10 and 15 in his quest of catching the pacesetters.

With high winds again proving treacherous for those teeing off later in the afternoon, Poulter will hope to make early inroads on Donald's lead early on Sunday, which he built on a game of solid iron play and consistent putting on greens which played slow.

And when the conditions, amid scorching sunshine, got the better of the World No.2, his exemplary recovery play; emphasised on 16 and 17, where despite taking a drop and then hitting into trees he escaped with just one dropped shot, saw him retain his lead.

His closest rival Rose, who admitted to having altered his preparation in the lead up to the event, will regret dropped shots at holes 2 and 3, and like Donald, benefitted from Morrison dropping back rapidly at the start of his round.

McIlroy's second successive missed cut, after his failure at The Players' Championship, means Donald can return as World No.1 for the first time since March should he be victorious at Wentworth, with fellow ranking rival Lee Westwood, lying 10 shots behind, unlikely to feature in the shake-up.