Saturday, October 22, 2016

Paul Lawrie sharing fourth place in Portugal 

Masters after rounds of 66, 66 and 65

Anders Hansen announced his retirement at the Portugal Masters in 2015 but 12 months later here he is, firing a brilliant nine-under-par 62 to take a share of the lead into the final round of the tournament at Victoria Clube de Golfe, Vilamoura.

The 46-year-old Dane, pictured, hung up his spikes after 419 events and three wins as he finished in a tie for 22nd last season, although the door was always open for a return as he is exempt due to his place in the top 40 on the career money list.
This week is his fifth event of 2016 with his European Tour Membership secured but, even if he were to win, the Dane would not consider making a full-time return, and a win would be no mean feat with a hungry and impressive group occupying the upper echelons of the leaderboard.
Mikko Korhonen is playing for his card at 116th place on the Race to Dubai, and the Finn signed for a 64 to sit alongside Hansen at 18 under, a shot clear of three-time Major Championship winner Padraig Harrington.
Defending champion Andy Sullivan, fellow Englishman Chris Paisley and Scot Paul Lawrie (66-66-65) are sharing fourth place at 16-under-par 197, a shot clear of another Scot in Marc Warren (63-65-70).
Birdies on the first, second, fifth, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 17th and 18th resulted in Hansen's second 62 in 1,499 rounds on Tour, and he revealed he will not feel any pressure going into the final day.
"I didn't really have a strategy," he said. "Just go out and play and just try to enjoy it and hit good shots and it turned out alright.
"When I decided to retire it was a full retirement and then the top 40 career money-winners' table came in, so I had to play five this year and that's why I've been doing this.
"I'm very, very happy with my life. I'm very happy where I am and there is no re-think about starting playing golf again, I'm very happy the way it is.
"It probably helps a little bit because it doesn't really matter to me either way. It is what it is. I'm not going to come back and play full-time. That decision has been made so I'm just enjoying being here.
"It's nice to know that I can still do it, even though I'm not playing too much golf anymore. It's a strange feeling to go out and shoot nine under in my position, it really is."
Korhonen birdied three of his first five holes and while he dropped a shot on the sixth, the 36 year old bounced back with a birdie on the seventh to turn in 32. 
Further gains followed on the 11th, 13th, 15th and 17th to put him in pole position to make the top 111 and retain his playing privileges, although he was not allowing complacency to sneak in.
"I just go one day at a time, one shot if I can, and try not to think about it," he said. "Of course it's in the mind but I do not think about it too much.

"It was great. I played solid, putted well. Nothing special but a really good round.

"So far, so good but tomorrow to go, so we'll see."

Harrington hit the front as he turned in 31 but two birdies and two bogeys saw him reeled in on the back nine as he signed for a 67.
Following on from his stunning 61 on Friday, Sullivan appeared out of sorts and was level par for his round after 13 holes in favourable conditions and on a course with little or no rough. A hat-trick of birdies from the 15th then fired him up the leaderboard before a closing bogey.

Paisley had six birdies in a blemish-free 65, while Lawrie signed for the same score with the help of an eagle on the 12th.

Warren battled to a 70 with a hat-trick of bogeys from the ninth stalling his progress, and he was a shot clear of countryman Stephen Gallacher, Spaniard Nacho Elvira, Swede Jens Fahrbring, American David Lipsky and England's Callum Shinkwin.

Trevor Fisher Jnr at 13 under, Jason Scrivener at 12 under, and Graeme Storm and Oliver Fisher a further shot back will all face a nerve-wracking final day as they battle to keep their cards.



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