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Saturday November 24, 2018

Round Three report

Aaron Rai will take a comfortable six-stroke lead into the final round of the HONMA Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi after stepping up his bid to claim a maiden European Tour title on day three.

Englishman Rai followed up Friday’s course-record 61 at Hong Kong Golf Club with a 68 on Saturday to get to 16 under par and move six clear of countrymen Tommy Fleetwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

But it was not all plain sailing for the 23 year old, who saw his four-shot halfway lead cut to one as he reached the turn after South Korean Hyowon Park made a fast start to his third round. A string of bogeys saw Park’s challenge falter and Rai turned on the style on the back nine to open up a six-shot gap, despite carding a closing bogey.

Ryder Cup star Fleetwood began his third round with a disappointing bogey at the first but picked up birdies at the third, sixth, tenth, 12th and 13th to sign for a 66 and jump to ten under alongside Fitzpatrick.

Former Masters Tournament champion Sergio Garcia and Australian Jason Scrivener sit tied fourth on nine under after the Spaniard produced a sensational 64 which included a brilliant eagle at the par-four tenth. Frenchman Victor Perez and Thai Thongchai Jaidee sit a further stroke back at eight under.

Player Quotes

Aaron Rai: “I certainly didn’t play bad. Maybe didn’t quite play as well as the first couple of days, but you always have those days during a four-round tournament. To be able to kind of get through it, stay patient, was a nice thing and to finish it two under is a good score today.

“It’s going to be to try and kind of stick to the same things. I think when you’ve been in a position before and where you’ve led and where you’ve won, it certainly helps. But it’s a different stage and it’s a different level. 

“There are always new experiences in a round of 18 holes, so I’m sure tomorrow will be a new experience in that sense. But there is also a lot that you can take from things that have happened in the past and the way you’ve dealt with things in the past, which hopefully puts you in a good position. But again, it’s still another 18 holes, so we’ll see. 

Tommy Fleetwood: “I did a lot of good stuff, and some not so good.  The wind completely died for the last few, so, I would have liked to have sort of hit it a little closer. Really, over the last few holes, just hit a couple of mediocre iron shots, but I did a lot of good stuff. Got off to a bogey on one, and bogey free from there and pretty flawless. Not an exceptional round, but another good, solid round on a tricky course. 

“I’m doing enough good things. I’m two putts short of being well in there, well, I’m still well in there, but there’s a low one out there if I can play well. But the course is demanding. As soon as you miss the fairway by one or two yards, it just becomes so difficult, and that’s why it’s so hard to attack the course and so hard to attack pins when they put them away. It’s a real test of patience, especially when I’ve not really looked at leaderboards, but when you know someone is a long way in front.”

Matt Fitzpatrick: “I played really, really well tee to green. Just really disappointed to only shoot two under when I had nine chances inside 15 feet and I think I holed two, maybe three. When you’re giving yourself chances like this and the greens are sort of as good as this, you have to take advantage of it. 

“Particularly being six behind at the start of the day, obviously I wanted to make a big charge and try and catch up. Sort of got off to a good start and just couldn’t make the putts coming in.”

Sergio Garcia: “Obviously got off to a great start with three birdies in a row there on two, three and four. Had a couple good chances on one and five that almost went in, and then made a little bit of a soft bogey on the next. But you know, played solid and gave myself a lot of chances. 

“Felt like I made a couple nice par putts when I had to and rolled a couple nice birdie putts towards the end. Hit a good putt on 17 which unfortunately didn’t go in but still going to be a little bit far behind. We’re going to need a little bit of help from the leaders finishing up, but you know, at least we’re getting a little bit closer.”

Round Three Scores

194 A Rai (Eng) 65 61 68,
200 T Fleetwood (Eng) 69 65 66, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 70 62 68,
201 S Garcia (Esp) 70 67 64, J Scrivener (Aus) 65 69 67,
202 V Perez (Fra) 71 65 66, T Jaidee (Tha) 68 68 66,
203 S Hend (Aus) 68 66 69, H Park (Kor) 68 62 73, J Higginbottom (Aus) 69 65 69, A Da Silva (Bra) 70 64 69,
204 S Kim (USA) 69 69 66, M Schwab (Aut) 69 69 66, S Sharma (Ind) 69 68 67, D Lipsky (USA) 69 66 69, R Gouveia (Por) 74 65 65, D Drysdale (Sco) 68 69 67, R Macintyre (Sco) 71 67 66, J Singh Brar (Eng) 66 70 68,
205 H Porteous (RSA) 68 70 67, M Shin (USA) 66 67 72, W Ormsby (Aus) 70 67 68, J Harding (RSA) 69 69 67, L Gagli (Ita) 72 67 66, M Kinhult (Swe) 72 64 69, A Cañizares (Esp) 69 68 68, B Henson (USA) 68 70 67, K Koivu (Fin) 69 67 69, N Srithong (Tha) 70 67 68,
206 Y Liu (Chn) 68 68 70, A Atwal (Ind) 66 72 68, A Chesters (Eng) 68 67 71, J Kruyswijk (RSA) 69 70 67,
207 D Lawson (Aus) 70 68 69, A Sandhu (Ind) 70 67 70, S Kapur (Ind) 73 67 67, Y Miyazato (Jpn) 65 74 68, J Wang (Kor) 68 67 72, Z Lombard (RSA) 72 68 67, S Fernandez (Esp) 69 71 67,
208 A Quiros (Esp) 68 66 74, Y Chang (Kor) 71 67 70, B Evans (Eng) 71 67 70, G Forrest (Sco) 70 68 70, N Colsaerts (Bel) 68 68 72, J Dantorp (Swe) 72 67 69, K Kitayama (USA) 72 67 69, D Boonma (Tha) 67 69 72, J Hansen (Den) 72 69 67, A Que (Phi) 71 68 69, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 72 69 67, R Wannasrichan (Tha) 70 68 70,
209 C Pigem (Esp) 73 68 68, T Pilkadaris (Aus) 68 71 70, L Bjerregaard (Den) 73 68 68, P Reed (USA) 75 65 69, N Bertasio (Ita) 73 67 69, G Kim (Kor) 71 68 70, C O’Toole (USA) 69 68 72,
210 J Catlin (USA) 70 69 71, J Todd (USA) 73 67 70, E Molinari (Ita) 71 69 70, A Karlsson (Swe) 69 71 70,
211 S Brazel (Aus) 68 70 73, D Chia (Mas) 72 69 70, D Horsey (Eng) 71 70 70, T Aiken (RSA) 67 71 73,
212 G Bourdy (Fra) 71 70 71, K Joshi (Ind) 68 71 73, V Madappa (Ind) 73 68 71, L Johnston (Sco) 71 69 72,
213 D Law (Sco) 71 69 73,
214 M Cheung (am) (Hkg) 71 70 73,
142 M Kawamura (Jpn) 72 70 0, S Crocker (USA) 76 66 0, J Kruger (RSA) 75 67 0, N Elvira (Esp) 72 70 0, G Fdez-Castaño (Esp) 73 69 0, F Zanotti (Par) 73 69 0, W Lin (Tpe) 69 73 0, W Lu (Tpe) 71 71 0, A Arnaus (Esp) 71 71 0, J Morrison (Eng) 69 73 0, A Vongvanij (Tha) 71 71 0, M Jiménez (Esp) 72 70 0,
143 S Yonghcaroenchai (Tha) 73 70 0, R Khan (Ind) 75 68 0, J Singh (Ind) 72 71 0, R Lee (Can) 71 72 0, S Yates (Sco) 72 71 0, P Peterson (USA) 73 70 0, H Ellis (Eng) 74 69 0, B Xiao (Chn) 75 68 0, K Samooja (Fin) 74 69 0, S Brown (Eng) 73 70 0, V Dubuisson (Fra) 73 70 0, S Kobayashi (Jpn) 75 68 0, W Liang (Chn) 73 70 0, C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 69 74 0, S Chawrasia (Ind) 70 73 0, S Rahman (Ban) 74 69 0, M Fraser (Aus) 72 71 0,
144 J Pagunsan (Phi) 75 69 0, A Johnston (Eng) 69 75 0, M Southgate (Eng) 76 68 0, R Jacquelin (Fra) 70 74 0, C Sordet (Fra) 72 72 0, M Tabuena (Phi) 74 70 0,
145 P Uthaipas (Tha) 76 69 0, J Janewattananond (Tha) 69 76 0, C S (Ind) 72 73 0, C Kumar (Ind) 71 74 0, K Horne (RSA) 74 71 0, P Khongwatmai (Tha) 77 68 0, L Weber (Fra) 77 68 0, C Hung (Tpe) 73 72 0,
146 D Nisbet (Aus) 71 75 0, J Veerman (USA) 73 73 0,
147 N Fung (Mas) 73 74 0, S Lam (Hkg) 72 75 0, A Cheung (Hkg) 75 72 0,
148 T Kaewsiribandit (Tha) 73 75 0, P Pittayarat (Tha) 77 71 0,
149 J Norris (Aus) 73 76 0,
152 P Tangkamolprasert (Tha) 75 77 0,
153 E Chapman (Eng) 77 76 0, B Wong (am) (Hkg) 79 74 0,
157 M Kokocinski (Swe) 75 82 0,
160 J Lai (am) (Hkg) 82 78 0,
** S Park #604 (Kor) 71 DQ 0, J Randhawa (Ind) 75 RT 0, C Nirat (Tha) 77 RT 0,Remarkable Rai leads by six in Hong Kong