Jimenez grabs share of Hong Kong golf lead
HONG KONG (AFP) –
Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez, bidding to become the oldest player to win on the European Tour, grabbed a share of the lead after the third round of the $2 million UBS Hong Kong Open on Saturday.
He was 10-under-par on 200, level with overnight leader Michael Campbell. Matteo Manassero, winner of the Barclays Singapore Open last week and less than half Jimenez’s age, moved ominously into contention with a sparkling six-under 64.
The Italian, 19, was joint third with China’s Zhang Lianwei, a shot behind the co-leaders. Next up, another shot adrift, was Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed. Peter Lawrie of Ireland and the Dane Anders Hansen were three off the leaders.
With world number one Rory McIlroy on the plane home after failing to make the cut, the 48-year-old Jimenez made his move on the Kiwi Campbell, who is hitting the kind of form that saw him lift the US Open in 2005.
Jimenez, who carded a 68, is chasing a hat-trick of titles at the Hong Kong Open, which is co-sanctioned between the European Tour and Asian Tour.
“I love to be in contention and it’s been a long time since I’ve been there,” said the pony-tailed Jimenez, whose last victory came in 2010 at the European Masters.
“I like this golf course. I like to be in contention. On this course you have to have patience and let everything happen. And that’s what’s going to happen tomorrow, stay patient, because anyone can win.
Campbell, who clung onto the joint lead with a 15-foot putt on the 18th to save par, said: “Today was a bit scrappy.
“I managed to grind out a score, which is important when you are not playing so well. I turned a 73 into a 69, which is always nice, and I’ve still got a chance to win tomorrow.
“Miguel has played some great golf once again. He’s obviously won this twice before, so he’s the man to beat, and also Matty (Manassero) is playing some great golf again after winning last week, then there is the local favourite Zhang.”
Manassero, whose scorching 64 included an eagle at the 13th and five birdies, said: “Everything is coming together. Last week really made me relax a lot on the golf course.
“These three rounds and my position coming into this Sunday are certainly due to last week (victory in Singapore) and what happened last week. I’ve got more freedom.
“I’m just more relaxed on the golf course and I take it the way it comes,” added the rising star, who had said he was suffering from fatigue after his heroics in Singapore, where he triumphed after three play-off holes.
“It’s going really well because everything, the game is coming together. I have to say, this is a great moment.”