HONG KONG (AP) — Gregory Bourdy of France shot a bogey-free 7-under 63 on Saturday to take the lead heading into the final round of the $2.5 million Hong Kong Open.
Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands was the only one of the three other overnight leaders to keep pace with Bourdy, shooting a 5 under to stay within two strokes after the third round.
Bourdy, a two-time winner on the European Tour, maintained his form from Friday, making four birdies on the front nine and three on the back nine for a 16-under 194.
Now No. 87 on the European Tour money list, the Frenchman boosted his chances to qualify for the $7.5 million year-end championship in Dubai next week, which is limited to the top 60 money earners after Hong Kong.
“It is my last chance to get into Dubai, last chance to win and I am leading by two, so I will do my best tomorrow to win,” said Bourdy, who described his 63 as one of the best rounds of his career. “I hit a lot of greens and that has been the key the last three rounds. I have been very consistent with my irons and my putting was unbelievable.”
Rising star Rory McIlroy shot a 65 to sit five strokes off the pace and bolster his bid to win the European Tour money title despite a seesawing day that saw him make a double bogey, a bogey, six birdies and an eagle. The 20-year-old from Northern Ireland is No. 2 on the money race behind England’s Lee Westwood.
McIlroy, who lost a playoff to Taiwan’s Lin Wen-tang last year, said he was happy with the way he recovered from the double bogey.
“I knew I was hitting it well and putting well, and it was a matter of giving myself chances again,” he said. “Maybe a couple of years ago after making double I would have been a bit flustered … When people ask about the difference between turning pro and now, the answer is experience.”
Two-time Hong Kong champion Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain briefly enjoyed the clubhouse lead with a 7 under, before moving into fourth with an overall 10 under with Lin (67), Ireland’s Peter Lawrie (66) and Italian Francesco Molinari (66).
U.S. PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang had a double bogey and two bogeys before recovered to a 1-under 69. The South Korean shared 10th at 202 in a group that included with England’s Ian Poulter (68) and overnight co-leader Charl Schwartzel of South Africa (71).
The fourth overnight leader, China’s Liang Wenchong, also faded, shooting four bogeys for a 2-over 72 and was in a group another shot back.
Westwood, who is playing in Hong Kong for the first time, has complained about having a hard time getting used to the course at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling and continued to struggle on Saturday, shooting three bogeys en route to a 1-under 69 that put him at 205.
Eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie shot a 3-under 67 and was also at 5 under.