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UBS Hong Kong Open. Campbell Clings on to lead

Michael Campbell clings on to the lead in the UBS Hong Kong Open at the Hong Kong Golf Course in Fanling China,  with a clutch ten foot putt for par at the last hole  to retain a share of the lead alongside Miguel Angel Jiménez.

Michael Campbell  (Getty Images)

Michael Campbell / Getty Images

Michael had a third round of -1 under par 69, which he described as scrappy;

Today was sort of scrappy; apart from a couple of drives, it was pretty average really. But once again, I just managed to grind out a score, which is very important with me not playing so well. I turned a 73 into a 69, which is always nice. I’ve still got a chance to win tomorrow, and that’s what I wanted to do after three rounds , give myself an opportunity to go out there and hopefully lift the UBS Hong Kong Open trophy. Once again Miguel is playing great golf, and he’s won this twice before and he’s the man to beat.It’s going to be a very interesting day tomorrow and it’s going to be I think a lot of fun. It will be nice to be a part of it.” 

Miguel Angel Jiménez is tied at the top of the leaderboard with his third round effort of -2 under par 68, for his -10 under par tournament score, the Ryder Cup Vice Captain, and twice winner of this Trophy is happy to be in contention again;

” I love to be in contention, it’s been a long time since I’ve been there and I’m happy and I like this golf course. I like to be in contention on this golf course and you have to have patience and let everything happen. That’s what’s going to happen tomorrow, stay patient because anyone can win.”

Miguel Angel Jimenez

 

Miguel Angel Jiménez / Stuart Franklin / Getty Images

 

Lian-wei Zhang of China is tied in third place with teenage sensation Matteo Manassero of Italy, who won last week at the Barclays Singapore Open. Matteo has cheekily crashed the party of the veterans at the top of the leaderboard.  Lian-wei Zhang  will become the third oldest winner on the Asian Tour at 47 years and 171 days if he completes his dream ‘Chinese Slam‘ on Sunday. Matteo had a third round of -6 under par, 64, and has certainly made his presence felt. The 19 year-old Italian is looking for his fourth Tour win and is in form, he said;

” I played well throughout the whole round, I had a really good practise yesterday and today I have to say, I struck the ball really well. I had plenty of chances, and on the back nine I really had some short putts for birdie and I made a few good ones. Last week really made me relax a lot on the golf course, and these three rounds and my position coming into this Sunday is certainly due to and what happened last week, I’ve got more freedom.”

Matteo Manassero - Hong Kong Open - Day Three

Matteo Manassero, a rare missed putt/ Getty Images

The leaderboard is pretty tightly packed and anyone who shoots a low round tomorrow could win this tournament. I would like to see Michael Campbell take home the Trophy, but Miguel is a determined character and Matteo just oozes class. It will be a fascinating days play.

 

UBS Hong Kong Open; Campbell Comeback Continues, McIlroy Misses Cut

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Michael Campbell/getty

Michael Campbell continued his amazing comeback and is now leading the UBS Hong Kong Open at the halfway stage on the Fanling Golf Course. Michael shot a second round of -6 under par, 64, to top the leaderboard and have a one shot advantage over  Miguel Angel Jiménez, Fredrik Andersson-Hed and China’s Lian-wei Zhang, all of them with a tournament total of -8 under par.

Buoyed by his great day in the field, Michael had plenty to say;

“Today was a day where I played great from tee-to-green and holed a few nice putts for pars and birdies. I’m just happy to be in a position to have a chance for the weekend; that’s why we play the game, that’s why I didn’t give up. That’s why I just stuck at it, just stuck working hard on my game, and I knew that this would happen, I deserve it, really. It’s been a gradual build-up over the last three or four months, a few top fifteen’s. Portugal was a great boost to my confidence, and it shows this week. You can’t buy confidence, you just have to earn it, and I think I’ve earned it over the last seven years since I haven’t won a golf tournament. I have been patient. There have been times where I wanted to throw it in, but what’s really inspired me over the last four or five years is seeing my friends around the same age bracket as me, in the 40-plus club. The likes of Ernie winning his fourth Major, Thomas Björn winning three times last year, Paul Lawrie has had a wonderful last couple of years, and Jim Furyk winning the FedEx Cup last year. The list goes on, so 40 isn’t a bad age to be playing golf. Seeing my friends win tournaments left, right and centre definitely inspired me to not give up and keep on playing. At one particular time, I remember I was back in Sydney back home with my family and I said to myself, okay, tonight is where I decide whether I’m going to give up the game or keep on playing, keep on practicing. I went to bed that night and I woke up in the morning, and there something inside me said to me: ‘look, keep on going, you’ve still got the talent’. It doesn’t go away, the talent, it’s always with you. It never goes away; it just hides now and then. I decided to just keep on working hard and that was it really.”

Michael was also relieved that Rory had missed the cut, he four putted the last green and was out;

“That makes it a lot easier for the rest of the field!”

Overnight leader Javi Colomo shot a one over 71 to drop back into a tie for sixth, but World number one, and defending Champion Rory McIlroy missed the cut, a sad Rory admitted;

“I just got on a slide and couldn’t stop it, obviously not the week that I wanted. I was only four off the lead and thinking I could make a couple more and be right back in contention. Unfortunately it just went the other way. I didn’t putt well last week and sort of got away with it. This week was the same, so I think a bit of putting practice is required in Dubai. I think these couple of days off might actually do me good. It’ll give me a chance to rest. I think if I was completely fresh I wouldn’t have been making the mistakes. On the last I saw the projected cut was plus two, so I wanted to try to hole it for birdie.

His 30-foot attempt caught the lip, but ran on five feet and he took three more, a sad end to a great run this year, hopefully he can return to form next week in Dubai, at the DP World Tour Championship.

 

UBS Hong Kong Open, Javi Colomo Leads, Rory McIlroy Languishes.

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Javier Colomo  (Getty Images)

Javier Colomo (Getty Images)

Javier Colomo from Spain, qualified for this event via his Asian Tour ranking, and produced an amazing -6 under par 64 to lead by one shot at the UBS Hong Kong Open on the Fanling Golf Course in Hong Kong. On the other hand the tournament favorite, World number one, and money winner on the European Tour and the U.S. PGA Tour, Rory McIlroy, also the defending champion here could do no better than a +3 over par 73.

Javier, who had his wife on the bag, was delighted with his play;

‘”I’m only here with my wife, the first six months it was very hard for me, and my wife, but now we are more comfortable and more happy, perfect. I played really, really good today from the tee, on the greens, everything,  I was very relaxed after the first nine holes, and I had opportunities for birdies and I had luck on the greens.Last year I lost my card on The Challenge Tour and my category in The European Tour, so there’s only one way to go to The European Tour. I had luck to get the card at the Q School on the Asian Tour and now I am 33 in the rankings. That’s perfect, because next year I will play the co-sanctioned tournaments with The European Tour. It’s a very good chance to improve, and why not to win a tournament and go to The European Tour?”

 

Rory said he felt lethargic;

“I just lacked a bit of energy out there, I felt a bit lethargic and mentally more than physically, if I am being honest. I bogeyed the first, but then just got more frustrated as the round went on. I just felt like I was hitting some decent shots and just not really converting any chances for birdies and I just let it go a little bit. I suppose after last week, and winning the Race to Dubai title, it was always going to be a bit of a letdown, I feel as though I am playing well enough, but I just need to get my head and the golf to match up and I’ll be OK.”

Struggles: Rory McIlroy found himself off the beaten track in the first round of the Hong Kong Open

Rory, playing left-handed from the  tree’s.

Rory has a lot of work to do tomorrow if he is to make the cut, unbelievable really, thinking that he could miss the cut, after the year he has had. It would be a sad end to the beautiful year.

Miguel Angel Jiménez, another Spaniard, is sitting in second place at -5 under par, he is tied there with Australia’s Andrew Dodt. Miguel, with a wry smile on his face,  joked about his age;

I am like a good bottle of Rioja, because I just get better and better with age. I’m putting very well and it’s a pity I missed a fairway on the ninth and then on the last got a big flyer. It’s an old-fashioned course, not very long, but you need to be very precise.”

Miguel was playing with another of those good golfers from Spain, Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal who is in the group at -4 under par after his round of 66,  José said he hit three poor shots on the day;

I hit three poor shots, but apart from those the rest of the game was pretty solid. Obviously I have to consolidate this the next few days, but it’s nice to have some signs like this one.”

Aussie Andrew Dodt reported he had just fired his round of the year;

“Possibly one of best rounds of the year, solid tee to green and rolled the ball nicely, it was very gusty in places, the wind. You really had to know where you were hitting it. It’s kind of similar to back home in Australia, it’s just a fun course to play.”

Leading Asian player is Lian-wei Zhang from China, who is very handily placed at -4 under par with the popular score of 66. Good Luck to Rory, I hope he plays well tomorrow and makes the cut.

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