Hong Kong Open. Marcus Fraser In Front.

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Marcus Fraser leads the Hong Kong Open at the end of day 3 at the Hong Kong Golf Course.

Marcus Fraser / Getty Images

Marcus Fraser / Getty Images

Aussie Marcus is enjoying his return to form he carded -5 under par 65 in the third round of the Hong Kong Open. to lead the tournament by one shot going into the final round tomorrow.

He admitted to being surprised;

“Nobody’s more surprised than I am that’s for sure. After eight months of sitting on the couch,  it hasn’t been the best eight months but when you play like that it makes it worthwhile.”

“Practice last week felt really good so I felt like I was heading in the right direction, finally, after I started practicing six or seven weeks ago.

“It was going okay but then last week it felt like everything fell into place but then coming out and playing a tournament is just a completely different thing so after not playing for eight months I wasn’t too sure what to expect. To come and play the way I did on the back nine today was pretty pleasing.”

“I think I’ve had three top tens here in the past and I was third a couple of years ago – I just love the golf course and wish I could take this course every week we play; I think it’s the best golf course we play all year.

“It’s just a proper golf course where you have to play well and stay out of trouble, and you need to hole putts – I’m pretty sure that’s the way the game was designed and it’s a credit to the way they’ve turned it out this week, it’s in the bet condition I’ve ever seen it.

“I had no idea going into the week and I’ve no idea going into tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll keep playing the way I’m playing and I feel pretty comfortable out there at the moment. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to play golf tournaments, especially being in the mix it’s good fun.”

Scott Hend is in second place, a -3 under par 67 third round giving the Aussie a -9 under par total for the tournament.

Tied in third place, at -9 under par, are Jbe Kruger, Angelo Que and Mark Foster.

Yesterdays leader Ernie Els slipped up today, a +1 over par 71 was not what he was hoping for. He still thinks he has a chance, if he can go low. Ernie is T6 at -8 under par;

“It was a little hectic, especially the ninth hole. I tried a couple of things and they didn’t come off but I don’t see there’s any reason not to still go for it.

“I need something low obviously, but I’d like to go really low just for my own wishes.”

World Match-Play Championship. Quarter Final Results.

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The World Match-Play Championship quarter finals at the London Golf Club turned up some surprising results, not least the departure of Patrick Reed, beaten by George Coetzee.

World Match-Play Championship

Patrick & George Shake Hands / Getty Images

 

George Coetzee put on a great display to beat American Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed, 2 and 1. He said that he has been playing well;

“I’ve actually been playing nicely the last couple of weeks. My ranking took a knock this year, but it’s starting to come together nicely.”

 Patrick thought he had played well;

I played well and any time you are six under you would hopefully win the match but George played extremely well.”

“He beat me in extra holes in the Accenture Match Play earlier this year but that was a match where we both played really poorly and it was more of a pillow fight. Today was just one of those things about match play – even if you play really well you can still get beat.”

 

Quarterfinal USA Patrick REED lost 2&1 to George COETZEERSA

Quarterfinal FRA Victor DUBUISSON lost 2 down to Mikko ILONENFIN

Quarterfinal NED Joost LUITEN won 6&5 over Pablo LARRAZÁBALESP

Quarterfinal SWE Henrik STENSON won 2 up over Jonas BLIXTSWE

Joost has maintained a 100% winning record, he said through his aggressive play;

“The course is playing soft so I think a lot of the boys out there are having a lot of birdies and you really have to make birdies to win holes.” 

“A lot of times you make birdie and you only halve the hole. You have to be aggressive and stay aggressive in this format and I’ve done that well in the last couple of days.”

Mikko admitted his match could have gone either way;

“It felt like it could have gone either way and I was lucky to come out on top in the end. The goal was obviously to play all week and we’re there.”

“So now we just have to keep pushing.”

Henrik was cruising along when Jonas suddenly came back at him in the all Swedish affair;

“Everyone comes back at me, no one lets me have an easy finish here, which you kind of expect that but not every time.”

“He definitely pushed an old man all the way to the last there and made it very interesting.”

LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship. Kyu Jung Baek and Hee-Kyung Bae Share Lead

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Kyu Jung Baek and Hee-Kyung Bae share the lead at the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship in Korea.

LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship

Hee-Kyung Bae / Getty Images

Hee-Kyung Bae shot a third round -4 under par 68 to share the lead at the  LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship with a -5 under par total. Kyu Jung Baek joins her at the top, as she too scored -4 under par today, in a Korean dominated leaderboard.

Hee-Kyung Bae played better on the back nine today;

“I think my iron shots today were strong but my putting wasn’t especially strong. So especially in the front nine, I would make it on the green pretty close but then my putt wouldn’t drop.”

 “So then after making the first birdie on the back nine, I really picked up momentum and in the back nine, my putting was stronger and my shots were stronger and I also took advantage of the fact that the tee boxes were closer on the back nine.”

Kyu Jung Baek, who co-leads the Rookie of the Year Race in the KLPGA, said her putting enabled her to score low;

“I think my putting was strong today and my shot was relatively weaker compared to my putting. But I think I was able to manage my game because I did a lot of par saves. And so ultimately, I was able to get a low score.”

“And I also want to mention, of course it would be wonderful if I can win this championship, but coming into this tournament, my main focus was to build my experience and learn because so many LPGA players take part in this tournament.”

“In the first round and second round and this round through the groups and players I’ve been playing with, I’ve been able to learn a lot, especially in the second round.”

There are ten ladies who are  tied in third position, and they are just one shot back at -4 under par for the tournament. The list includes world No. 2 Inbee Park, two-time winner of the event Suzann Pettersen and major champion Brittany Lincicome.

Americans Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie are amongst a group of five in a tie for 13th at -3 under par, two shots off the lead.

This event is so tight just about anybody could still win it, even Lydia Ko, who is currently T18, but at -2 under par only three shots back.

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Andrew Putnam & Russell Knox Tied.

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Andrew Putnam and Russell Knox are tied at the top in the second round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Andrew Putnam / Getty Images

Andrew Putnam scored a second round -6 under par 65, to share the Shriners lead at the half-way stage with a -10 under par total.

Andrew was  just two shots off the lead, entering the final round of the 2013 Web.com Tour Championship, where a  top-five finish would have guaranteed him a TOUR card. He was only one round away from fulfilling his dream, but unfortunately shot +5 over par  75 last round;

I wasn’t comfortable in that situation, I felt like my swing was a little loose, so it was good to have one more year on the Web.com Tour.”

“I was able to tighten up my swing a little bit, work with my swing coach and improve a lot from last year to this year.”

Russell feels comfortable on this Las Vegas course, carding -4 under par 67 today, to share the lead at -10 under par;

“I’ve been in this position before on this course the last couple years.”

“I’ve played nicely and just haven’t really played well four days, so I’m off to a good start and hopefully two more good ones to go.”

Andrew Svoboda and Tony Finau are tied in third place, both just one shot off the lead at -9 under par; Andrew with a -4 under par 67 and Tony a -6 under par 65.

Tony is in unfamiliar territory;

“It’s a spot I’m not real familiar with on the PGA TOUR level, but on the Web.com Tour I was able to be pretty successful, so we’ll see how it goes this weekend.”

Funny thing is, if you check out the stats, Andrew Putnam only appears in the putting category, just proves how important putting is.

STATISTICS

Category Player Statistic
Strokes gained: tee-to-green Tony Finau 5.31
Driving distance Tony Finau 336.8 yards
Driving accuracy Steven Alker, Hudson Swafford 23 of 28 (82.1 percent)
Greens in regulation Martin Laird, Webb Simpson 32 of 36 (88.9 percent)
Strokes gained-putting Carlos Ortiz 2.79
Putts per round Kevin Kisner, Andrew Putnam, Andrew Svoboda 26.5
Total birdies Russell Knox, Spencer Levin 14

South African Womens Open. Rain Halts Play.

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Excessive rain has halted play in the second round of the South African Womens Open at the San Lameer Country Club.

The tournament has now been reduced to 54 holes, European Tour Tournament Michael Wood announced that play was abandoned for the day.

“We have reduced the tournament to 54 holes, given the fact that we assessed that the timings in place, we wouldn’t finish, without further delays, until Monday morning.”

“We came here this morning at 4.30am and there were fairly strong winds. We finished round one in winds of 25 miles per hour, the wind further strengthened leading into round two with a few downpours. Fairways, tees and greens were unplayable with surface water.”

“We got to a stage where if we re-started today a number of players wouldn’t start round two in these conditions and would play afresh tomorrow in completely different conditions to what we were faced with today.”

England’s Charley Hull was leading by two strokes on -5 under par after six holes in her second round when play was suspended at 11.10am local time. Second round scores recorded so far have now been cancelled.

Hong Kong Open. Birthday Boy Ernie Els Leads.

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Birthday Boy Ernie Els leads the Hong Kong Open in the second round at Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling.

Hong Kong Open

Ernie Els / Getty Images

Ernie shot a second round -5 under par 65 to celebrate his 45th birthday in style, topping the leaderboard at the Hong Kong Open at -9 under par.

There will be no alcohol just yet;

“I played quite nicely and 65 is what I needed to do, I’m looking forward to the rest of the week and obviously in a good position.

“I won’t have any alcohol to celebrate, but I’ll have a bit of cake and relax back at the hotel and see what we do for dinner tonight.”

“When I’m on I’m really playing nicely, I lost my concentration a little bit after the fourth hole so I didn’t quite play as well as I did at the beginning of the round; I’d like to improve on that.”

“But I feel really good about my ball striking and I’m putting nicely.”

 Raphaël Jacquelin, Scott Hend and Cameron Smith share second place, two shots back at -7 under par for the tournament.

Raphaël is looking to climb into the top 60 in The Race to Dubai,before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai next month;

“I’ve been playing really well this week and there are birdie opportunities if you keep the ball in play.” 

“It makes a really big difference to be on the fairway because you can get some short irons into the green.”

Day one leader Jyoti Randhawa remained at -6  under par after an even par  second round of 70, while the same score saw defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez miss the cut on two over.

No less than 11 players are tied for fifth on -6 under par , including SSP Chowrasia, Lee Slattery, Daan Huizing and Marcus Fraser, all of whom are currently outside the top 110.

 

World Match-Play Championship. Revenge for Reed.

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Patrick Reed gained revenge over Jamie Donaldson for his defeat at the Ryder Cup by defeating him at the World Match-Play Championship here at London Golf Club.

World Match-Play Championship

Patrick Reed / Getty Images

Patrick who was the top scorer for the United States at Gleneagles, beat Jamie 3 and 2 in the final round of group matches at London Golf Club and advanced to Saturday’s quarter-finals.

Patrick enjoyed this win, after losing in the first round to Jonas Blixt;

It feels good. The first round felt like I didn’t make any putts. When you lose the first one, you know your back is up against the wall and you have to win going out. 

“To be able to play very solidly the last two rounds, especially late in the day, I made a lot of putts and today I made a lot of clutch and solid putts, which is key to match play.”

Paul Casey and Jonas Blixt battled brilliantly and ended up all square after they both carded rounds of  -10  under par 62s. Paul then found water on the first extra hole and crashed out of the tournament.

Jonas was very complementary about Paul’s play;

“Paul played great, especially on the back nine. He definitely put a lot of pressure on me and snuck away with a couple holes. I snuck away with a couple holes, as well. 

“It was just a great match. I talked to my caddie about it and we were like, this is how we want to play a golf match.”

Victor Dubuisson was the only player already through to the quarters after winning his first two matches, he lost this dead rubber to Steve Gallacher 2 and 1.

Defending champion Graeme McDowell was eliminated when he lost to Joost Luiten, Joost was 2 up.

Graeme was unhappy at having to go home and not be able to defend his title over the week-end;

“I’m very disappointed of course by my defence but there’s quality golf out there. The golf course is set up to be ripped apart and unless you’re shooting 64, 65, you’re going home.”

Mikko Ilonen defeated Alexander Levy 1 up, while Henrik Stenson defeated Thongchai Jaidee 2 and 1.

Henrik was helped in his win by holing out from the 17th fairway;

“I felt like if I can stick my lob wedge in there a little bit past and try to spin it back, and came out with a nice flight and knew it was going to be pretty good but , it was a bonus that it went in the hole and spectacular way to finish.”

George Coetzee advanced to the final stages despite losing his match 2 and 1 to Francesco Molinari.

MCCORMACK WAL Jamie DONALDSON lost 3&2 to Patrick REEDUSA

MCCORMACK SWE Jonas BLIXT Match Halved Paul CASEYENG

GABRIELSSON FRA Victor DUBUISSON lost 2&1 to Stephen GALLACHERSCO

GABRIELSSON IRL Shane LOWRY  lost 2&1 to Pablo LARRAZÁBALESP

LARSON NIR Graeme MCDOWELL lost 2 down to Joost LUITENNED

LARSON FIN Mikko ILONEN won 1 up over Alexander LEVYFRA

PALMER SWE Henrik STENSON won 2&1 over Thongchai JAIDEETHA

PALMER ITA Francesco MOLINARI won 2&1 over George COETZEERSA

The quarter-final line-up has Coetzee against Reed, Dubuisson versus Ilonen, Luiten against Larrazábal and Stenson versus Blixt in a Swedish showdown.