Grégory Bourdy will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the UBS Hong Kong Open as he goes in search of his third European Tour title.
The Frenchman carded a seven-under-par 63 in the third round at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling on Saturday (14 November) to reach 16-under for the tournament.
His nearest challenger, Robert-Jan Derksen of Holland, returned a 65 to stand at 14-under.
Bourdy, aged 27, was delighted with his effort on Saturday. “I enjoyed my game today,” he said. “It was a fantastic round with seven birdies and no bogeys.
“I feel good on this course. I feel good in Hong Kong and I’m enjoying the week. I’ll try and keep the putter warm for tomorrow as it was unbelievable today.”
Asked if it was his best ever round, he responded: “I think so, it was great. Not my best long game but it was consistent and good putting. I missed a few tee shots but not by far, and I was on the fairway or just in the rough.
“I hit a lot of greens and that’s been the key the last three rounds. I’ve been very consistent with my irons and my putting was unbelievable.”
Bourdy, who won the 2007 Mallorca Classic and the Open de Portugal last year, vowed to concentrate on his own game on Sunday and not worry about other players trying to catch him.
“I’ll play my game as I have for three rounds, shot by shot and see at the end,” he insisted.
“I won’t look at the leaderboard or the players behind me as I know if I shoot under par I have a good chance to win. I’ll concentrate on my game and play shot by shot.”
Bourdy’s playing partner Derksen stayed firmly in contention as he mixed six birdies with a lone bogey in his 65.
“It was a nice day,” said the 35-year-old Dutchman. “I played well and only hit one bad shot, on the fourth where I made bogey. Other than that, very solid. And it was a pleasure to play with Greg. I just tried to follow up.
“When he made a birdie on 16 I was able to follow him in which was nice. He’s a good player and nice to play with.
“We’re both reasonably quick players so we got the business done, he hit good shots and I hit good shots and on days like that this is the best job in the world.”
Derksen, whose two European Tour titles came at the 2003 Dubai Desert Classic and the 2005 Madeira Island Open, said he was looking forward to going head-to-head with Bourdy again on the final day.
“We’ll be playing together again tomorrow. There’s a bit of a cushion behind me but on the other hand he is two in front so if he has another good round I’ll have to shoot low to catch him.
“The last time I played with Greg was in Mallorca and he got me there so I’ll be trying to even the score tomorrow.”
Northern Irish youngster Rory McIlroy was in third place at 11-under after a 65.
Four players were at 10-under – Spain’s Miguel ángel Jiménez (63), Italian Francesco Molinari (66), Ireland’s Peter Lawrie (66) and the UBS Hong Kong Open defending champion, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen Tang (67)
Charl Schwartzel and Liang Wenchong – the co-leaders with Bourdy and Derksen after two rounds – fell off the pace on Saturday.
South Africa’s Schwartzel carded a 71 to drop to eight-under while Chinese No.1 Liang came in with a 72 to be seven-under.
The UBS Hong Kong Open – Hong Kong’s oldest professional sporting event, having started in 1959 – is once again co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.