SSP Chawrasia remains the man to catch with 18 holes to play at the UBS Hong Kong Open, with the Indian hoping to hold off a hugely talented chasing pack bursting with star names at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
Chawrasia’s third round 69 took him to ten under for the tournament and one shot clear of Rafa Cabrera Bello and Wade Ormsby, whose respective scores of 64 and 65 saw them charge through the field.
Europe’s number one Tommy Fleetwood, meanwhile, is looking to make the perfect start to the defence of the Race to Dubai crown he won in Dubai in this the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.
The Englishman carded a third round 66 to move into a tie for fourth place alongside the hugely talented duo of Belgium’s Thomas Detry (66) and Swede Alexander Björk (67) with American Paul Peterson a further shot back on seven under after his outstanding 65.
Olympic champion Justin Rose and Masters champion Sergio Garcia are five and six shots back but by no means out of contention, especially if they can hole a few more putts in the final round.
Both men endured a frustrating day on the greens of the Hong Kong Golf Club, with Garcia in particular producing a shot-making masterclass on day three. It would be no surprise to see either man making a final round charge on what is sure to be a thrilling final day in Hong Kong.
SSP Chawrasia: “I’m happy with the score today, although I definitely left a couple of shots out there. I felt a little extra pressure today which probably why missed a couple of putts but I will think I can do something special tomorrow. This course really suits my game but this is the first year that I have played well here and I am leading. I’m looking forward to tomorrow – I have played with Cabrera Bello many times and he is a nice guy. I’ll definitely have to shoot a low number to win because someone just behind me will definitely go low.”
Rafa Cabrera Bello: “I did get it going on the greens today which was the difference. I managed to hole some good putts. Hopefully this will give me a chance for tomorrow. I think I’m going to be within reach, so I do believe that I can win it for sure. The wind has made it much tougher. Especially the first two days, it was very breezy. Today I think the wind has dropped down a little bit, stayed a bit more consistent. But the first and second round, they were very tough, very gusty and all over the place.
Wade Ormsby: “It’s nice to have a strong day out there. Made a few putts early to keep it going and played pretty solid through the middle there. Didn’t quite hit it close enough at the end but all in all a good day. This is my first tournament in month and sometimes after four weeks, you can be a bit rusty. Had a bit of practise yesterday afternoon and got the ball striking more where I wanted it. Hit some better shots today which resulted in a good score. I’ll just try and go and play my own game tomorrow.”
Tommy Fleetwood: “I played really, really well. I felt like the ball just wouldn’t go in the hole at times – I hit good putts that just didn’t go in. But then the two on the tenth kind of got me going and it’s always nice to birdie the last. I’m in a great position. I felt really comfortable today so hopefully just keep those swings thoughts and keep doing what I’m doing.”
Sergio Garcia: “It should have been probably an easy 63. But you know, it’s what it is. I just haven’t felt comfortable all week for some reason, and still kind of dragging a little bit. But you know, we’re trying. I made some nice putts. Unfortunately, I just missed a whole bunch coming in, good birdie opportunities. Hopefully I can do a little bit more of that tomorrow, play, hit some good shots and hopefully feel a little better with the putter and see if we can post a really good round.”
D’Souza shoots five-under-par on home track
Hong Kong’s Leon D’Souza shot a superb 5-under par 65 to leave him tied in XX place as the tournament heads into the final round. The 19-year old amateur made seven birdies, with two dropped shots on the sixth and ninth holes pegging him back. Having narrowly made the cut on Friday, the teen finds himself rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in the game; but if it fazes him, he certainly didn’t let it show out on course.
Speaking about his round, D’Souza said:
“It was good to finally hole some putts today. The first couple days, I was hitting it great, as I did today, but I didn’t hole anything. So, today I finally got it going. Ducky [caddie] gave me some good reads.
“There’s no place like home to be playing. It’s great I’m playing my best golf in front of all my family, all my friends. It’s good fun, plenty of support. The whole team is here, parents were here. It’s good to see.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow, he added:
“Just keep doing what I’ve been doing. Go work on some putting again. Make sure everything’s good. Make sure my alignment’s fine. Hitting’s been good the last couple weeks, so there’s no problems there for now. It was good that I was going to make the cut eventually. There were not enough players to push us out. It gave me a lot of relief, so I could just go out today and try to go low.”
Round two scores:
200 S Chawrasia (Ind) 65 66 69,
201 W Ormsby (Aus) 68 68 65, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 69 68 64,
202 T Fleetwood (Eng) 68 68 66, A Björk (Swe) 69 66 67, T Detry (Bel) 67 69 66,
203 P Peterson (USA) 70 68 65,
204 C Hanson (Eng) 71 66 67, J Suri (USA) 68 67 69, D Frittelli (RSA) 71 65 68, M Kinhult (Swe) 67 69 68, M Shin (USA) 67 69 68,
205 P Saksansin (Tha) 67 68 70, S Crocker (USA) 69 70 66, J Morrison (Eng) 71 66 68, J Rose (Eng) 68 69 68, T Jaidee (Tha) 68 71 66, J Lagergren (Swe) 69 66 70,
206 S Garcia (Esp) 69 71 66, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 70 68 68, S Brazel (Aus) 69 71 66, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 66 73 67, C Sordet (Fra) 71 71 64, J Donaldson (Wal) 67 69 70, S Sharma (Ind) 66 71 69, C Paisley (Eng) 71 70 65,
207 P Waring (Eng) 71 68 68, T Aiken (RSA) 69 64 74, J Choi (Kor) 69 72 66, L D’Souza (am) (Hkg) 72 70 65,
208 P Oriol (Esp) 72 68 68, R Wannasrichan (Tha) 72 69 67, P Dunne (Irl) 71 71 66, B Leong (Mas) 70 71 67,
209 L Haotong (Chn) 68 69 72, R Karlsson (Swe) 72 68 69, R Evans (Eng) 71 69 69, N Bertasio (Ita) 73 69 67, M Jiménez (Esp) 70 69 70, R Khan (Ind) 71 68 70, D Chia (Mas) 68 71 70,
210 R Rock (Eng) 69 73 68, C Pigem (Esp) 71 68 71, A Que (Phi) 67 71 72, W Lin (Tpe) 69 71 70, E Molinari (Ita) 71 67 72, S Barr (Aus) 75 67 68, S Brown (Eng) 72 70 68, Y Chang (Kor) 69 70 71, M Manassero (Ita) 72 69 69, S Yongcharoenchai (Tha) 71 68 71,
211 G Green (Mas) 69 68 74, A Chesters (Eng) 71 70 70, G Havret (Fra) 69 70 72, H Tanihara (Jpn) 72 69 70,
212 C Hung (Tpe) 72 69 71, L Wenchong (Chn) 71 71 70, K Horne (RSA) 67 69 76, M Kumar (Ind) 72 70 70,
213 H Varner Iii (USA) 69 71 73, T Pilkadaris (Aus) 68 71 74,
214 S Chien (USA) 72 69 73, A Da Silva (Bra) 70 72 72, B Neil (Sco) 71 71 72,
215 W Ashun (Chn) 74 68 73, P Pittayarat (Tha) 73 69 73,
216 S Hend (Aus) 73 67 76, R Gouveia (Por) 70 72 74,
The UBS Hong Kong Open is co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours as well as the Hong Kong Golf Association. For more information see www.ubshkopen.com To register for free tickets for the tournament or to purchase tickets for the Saturday and Sunday, go to www.ticketflap.com
The 2017 UBS Hong Kong Open is an accredited event celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The HKSAR Government and HKTB fully support the UBS Hong Kong Open.
To share the joy of the 20th Anniversary, the HKSAR Government is joining hands with different sectors to organise a wide variety of activities and events under the theme “Together, Progress, Opportunity”. For more details on 20th Anniversary events and activities, please visit: www.hksar20.gov.hk/eng
The UBS Hong Kong Open has also been recognized as an “M” Mark event to help enhance the image of Hong Kong as Asia’s sports event capital. “M” Mark is awarded by the Major Sports Events Committee, symbolizing an intense, spectacular and signature event in the territory sports calendar.