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.”

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.

 

Hong Kong Open. Jyoti Randhawa Leads

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Jyoti Randhawa, from India, sits on top of the leaderboard at the  Hong Kong Open at the Hong Kong Golf Club at the close of play on day 1.

Hong Kong Open

Jyoti Randhawa / Getty Images

Jyoti leads the field on day 1 of the Hong Kong Open shooting -6 under par 64 at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling. He was very pleased with the way he putted today;

“For me it’s really awesome, today I really putted my heart out so I’m very happy with the way it went.”

In second place on his own is Angelo Que, from the Philippines, he carded -5 under par 65

There is a very large group tied in third place, no less than nine players all on -4 under par in this truly international field. They include some impressive names, Ernie ElsJbe Kruger, James Heath, Taiwan’s Lu Wei-chih, Korean Baek Seuk-hyun, Spain’s Nacho Elvira, Raphaël Jacquelin, Daan Huizing and Nicolas Colsaerts.

Ernie, was satisfied with his start, but knows the quality of the players who have won this tournament

“I kept it together for the most part and had quite a few opportunities, I’m quite pleased with that, obviously.”

“The players who have won here is like a who’s who of golf – but I don’t want to think about that. Let’s concentrate on tomorrow and take it from there.”

Nicolas sank two long putts, despite suffering from jet-lag;

“You need to play well to shoot any sort of score under par, from tee to green you need to be pretty good to leave yourself birdie chances. I’m quite happy with my score.”

“I’m waking up in the middle of the night, I didn’t do a very good job with the jet-lag so I think I’m going to be waking up early most of the week but it’s fine.”
With only this event and next week’s ISPS HANDA Perth International left for players to climb into the top 110 on The Race to Dubai and keep their cards, some of these players will have to do well if they want to improve their chances of retaining their playing privileges.

 

Hong Kong Open, Miguel Masters Manley and Messawat in Playoff for the Title.

Miguel Angel Jiménez  rolled in an 18 foot putt at the 18th hole to become the oldest winner in European Tour history with this victory at the Hong Kong Open.

Miguel Angel Jimenez  (Getty Images)

Miguel Angel Jiménez / Getty Images

Finishing the final round tied with Stuart Manley and Prom Messawat at -12 under par Miguel made a winning birdie on the first extra hole in the play-of for the Hong Kong Open title.

A happy Miguel loves this place, winning the event for a record fourth time, and is thinking of the Ryder Cup;

“I love this place, I love this golf course, I love the tournament. I played so well and I holed some putts, and the one in the play-off gave me victory. If I play the way I am playing this week I will be in the Ryder Cup Team, there is one more year to go and now I get this victory here it will help a lot. You never know, I would love to be part of the team again.”

Prom, from Thailand, spoke about his amazing week;

“It’s been an amazing week for me, I didn’t feel any disappointment in the play-off. I did my best this week, and it’s my best finish on this golf course.”

Stuart was happy with his result, but was disappointed to put his approach to the green in the play-off into the Hospitality tent, he still made par, but is was not good enough;

“I’m pretty pleased. Obviously I’m disappointed to lose in a play-off with a poor shot, but for Miguel to make birdie is pretty special.  It was pretty special to make three myself to get into the play-off. So I can take a lot from the week. This week will give me a lot of confidence. It’s money on the board for The Race to Dubai and everything feels very positive.”

 

Hong Kong Open. Manley Hopes to Make it His.

Stuart Manley hopes to make the Hong Kong Open his maiden European Tour victory, he leads by one shot at the end of day three.

Stuart Manley  (Getty Images)

Stuart Manley / Getty Images

Stuart  had a -4 under par 66 third round, to post -10 under par at  the top of the leaderboard, and will take a one shot lead into the final round of the Hong Kong Open as the Qualifying School graduate chases his first European Tour title. He said winning would be great, and is fired up to take his first title;

“I wanted to be last group so I’m delighted, I’ve led quite a few times on the Challenge Tour so hopefully that will put me in good stead for tomorrow. There will be a few nerves early on I think but I’m swinging so well that if I can be committed to the golf shot I’ll be fine and just enjoy it. Pretty much from the first hole onwards, every iron shot was right down the pin. If it had been a good day on the greens it could have been a really low round, so it was disappointing not to capitalize, but I feel very confident the way I’m playing and I’m really excited about tomorrow. Winning would mean the world really. Obviously there is a lot of golf to go and I’ve just got to enjoy tomorrow and see what happens. To be a winner on The European Tour would be great.”

Tied in second place are Shiv Kapur and Wade Ormsby, both at -9 under par after they both produced third round totals of -4 under par 66.

Wade feels comfortable as he also tries to win his first Tour title;

“My game feels good, made a lot of birdies out there and overall pretty happy.”

Shiv says his recent wins on the Challenge Tour will stand him in good stead;

“If you can keep the mistakes off the card round here you’ll usually challenge and I’ve been able to do that. Whether it’s the Challenge Tour or the main Tour winning is always hard. For me winning recently in the last couple of months has been good and I know what to expect tomorrow. Sometimes you can make a couple of mistakes and still win a tournament and I think that’s been the biggest realisation for me in the last couple of months.”

The defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez, José Manuel Lara and Steve Webster all shot rounds of -5 under par 65 to total  -8 under par, just two shots off the lead. This course is a favorite of  Miguel’s and he really wants to defend his title here;

 “I hope I can keep hitting the ball the way I’m hitting it and knock in some putts to get the victory here, I would love it. I love this golf course.”

There is still a lot of golf to be played here, the man with the strongest will has an advantage.

Hong Kong Open. Jbe Kruger Cruising At The Top.

Jbe Kruger, from South Africa, is cruising along at the top of the leaderboard at  the Hong Kong Open in China.

Jbe Kruger  (Getty Images)

Jbe Kruger / Getty Images

Jbe required only 30 shots to complete the back nine and in so doing grabbed the halfway lead at the Hong Kong Open, with his -4 under par round and -7 under par total. He said of the days events;

“Our country lost a real-life hero. I played well, I probably swung it the best I’ve swung it in a long time. I’m excited and I’m playing better for a change. It’s fun to play relaxed golf for a change and see what unfolds.”

Qualifying School graduate Stuart Manley is in second place, shooting consecutive rounds of -3 under par, for a respectable  -6 under par total. He was on course for a share of the lead until he hit his approach into the water at the tenth, his last hole, and signed for a bogey;

“It’s really enjoyable, I started a bit scrappily but after the first few holes I played lovely. It’s 36 holes, there’s a lot of golf to go and a lot of good players around me so I’ll have to play well this weekend.”

Alex Cejka, Shiv Kapur and Wade Ormsby are tied for third place on -5 under par, with defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez just outside the top ten.

Miguel said the greens were tricky and his magical round ground to a halt;

“I played very well with birdies on the 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th and a birdie on number three, but then the magic stopped. The greens are very fast, you have to take care. I three-putted the fifth, but I am happy, I don’t feel like I putted badly but it happens. I thought about a low score after the first few holes, but you have to respect this golf course. It’s not very long but you have to get the ball in place every single time and you have to be very careful with the greens because they are firm and fast.”

Hong Kong Open. Its Higgins In Hong Kong

It is Ireland’s David Higgins who leads in the Hong Kong Open in Fanling, China.

David Higgins  (Getty Images)

David Higgins / Getty Images

David,who lost his European Tour card by less than €20,000 last year, took a one shot lead after a -6 under par first round of 64 at the Hong Kong Open.

David enjoyed the moment, but also spoke of his disappointment at losing his Tour card;

“It was great, I just played solid tee to green holed some lovely putts and had a chip in. If you’re going to have a score like that you have to do some good stuff. You’ve got to use your imagination, let it run out a little bit, maybe use a slope here and there, so it’s good for me. It’s a great test of golf. I played quite well on Tour at the end of last season, so I’ve come here in decent form and I’ve been working hard. The end of the year was disappointing for me because I didn’t keep my full playing rights, but I still have some. I’m going to have chances and every time I have a chance I need to make the most of it, this is a good start. You get on a course and hole some putts and you’re going to have a good score and I did that, so it’s time to push on and have a decent week here.”

Andrea Pavan, from Italy’s Challenge Tour, is a shot further back after a -5 under par 65, and amazingly there are seven players at -4 under par sharing third place on a congested leaderboard.

Andrea was happy with his position, but not so happy spoiling his round with a bogey;

” I started off well and hit it close many times on my front nine. I was four under and playing pretty flawless golf, but I made a few mistakes towards the end. Overall though it’s a good round and I’m pleased. Last year was a good year, so that brings you confidence. You want to always improve, and I know that I’m moving in the right direction.”