Saturday, November 10, 2007


American left-handed star Phil Mickelson broke away from the elite field after a four-under-par 68 in the third round at the HSBC Champions today
The three-time major winner battled the windy conditions at the Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai as he chalked up six birdies against two bogeys.
Englishman Ross Fisher blasted a similar score in second position two strokes behind Mickelson while compatriot Paul Casey rose up to lone third spot after a strong 66 in the US$5 million event.
Overnight leader Kevin Stadler slipped to fourth place after a 73 while South African Andrew McLardy and Fijian ace Vijay Singh were both even-par for the day in joint fifth place. Richard Sterne of South Africa and Irishman Padraig Harrington shot matching 69s also in tied fifth position alongside defending champion Yang Yong-eun of Korea who posted a 70 seven strokes behind the leader.
Competing in his first ever HSBC Champions, Mickelson, with 32 titles on the US PGA Tour, was one under after nine holes as he battled the tricky conditions with three more birdies on the back nine for a two stroke advantage heading into the final round.
“There's a lot of work to be done tomorrow. The golf course is playing very challenging with the wind. The greens are fast, and although they are putting perfectly true, the wind is so strong it's actually affecting approximate putts. So it's not an easy test and it should be a fun day tomorrow,” said the world No 2, who birdied the final par five 18th hole for the second straight day for a 14-under-par 202 total.
“I fought hard early in the round, I made a couple of birdies and bogeys and was back and forth for a while, but toward the end of the round I steadied it a little bit and had some good birdies coming in. It was a good way to finish,” added the Californian-born star, who will be gunning for his first win in China on Sunday.
“It would mean a lot to me to be able to come out on top here in China for the first time. I plan on trying to play a little bit more on a more global basis, trying to add a couple more tournaments worldwide. And so I expect that I'll have more opportunities, or I hope to have more opportunities throughout international play.”
Fisher, who won his first ever professional title in Holland in August, remained in the hunt with a bogey free round that included four birdies.
“I just felt like I played pretty good. I hung in there and to come off with 68, bogey‑free is very, very pleasing. It was tricky, but obviously for me, I stuck in there and probably didn't play as good as the first two days. I left a few putts out there, but I holed out really well when I needed to. When I missed greens, I holed some really key putts. So I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” said the 26-year-old Fisher.
Casey, who won the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in January, made a charge up the leaderboard on day three when he smashed in seven birdies against a lone bogey in the tournament co-sanctioned by The Asian Tour, European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine (Southern Africa) Tour, and the China Golf Association.
“I had a lot of fun out there, made the putts, made up for some of the missed putts I had yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So hopefully that will continue through to tomorrow.
The pin positions were tough today. Combine that with a little bit of wind and the drying out of the greens. They are extremely difficult to make putts. So you have to have a good, positive attitude and you know, maybe I haven't had that in the past few weeks but I certainly had that today and that's what it produced,” said Casey.
Australia’s Nathan Green was in 10th position after a 69 while Asian Tour’s Simon Yates of Scotland endured a slow 75 and dropped to joint 11th spot. South African Retief Goosen was in tied 19th place after a 71 together with compatriot Ernie Els who carded a 70. Filipino veteran Frankie Minoza, who is ranked 21st on the Asian Tour’s UBS Order of Merit, was also in joint 19th spot after a 75 for a 214 total.
“I’ve got a bad cough and I’m not feeling too well so I am quite pleased with where I am after three rounds. I hope things will improve in the final round,” said Liang.
Par 216 (3 x 72)
202 Phil Mickelson (US) 68-66-68
204 Ross Fisher (Eng) 68-68-68
205 Paul Casey (Eng) 68-71-66
206 Kevin Stadler (US) 64-69-73
209 Vijay Singh (Fiji) 67-70-72, Andrew Mclardy (SAf) 68-69-72, Yang Yong-eun (Kor) 71-68-70, Padraig Harrington (Ire) 68-72-69, Richard Sterne (SAf) 68-72-69.
210 Nathan Green (Aus) 73-68-69.
211 Simon Yates (Sco) 70-66-75, Steve Webster (Eng) 69-70-72, Louis Oosthuizen (SAf) 71-68-72, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 70-70-71, Lee Westwood (Eng) 70-74-67.
212 Angel Cabrera (Arg) 68-72-72, Jose Manuel Lara (Spa) 70-72-70
213 Niclas Fasth (Swe) 64-75-74.
214 Frankie Minoza (Phi) 69-70-75, Retief Goosen (SAf) 69-74-71, Ernie Els (SAf) 75-69-70
215 Brett Rumford (Aus) 69-71-75, Liang Wen-Chong (China) 69-72-74, Nick Dougherty (Eng) 71-70-74, Markus Brier (Austria) 69-73-73, Chapchai Nirat (Thai) 69-73-73, Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 74-69-72, Jason Knutzon (US) 71-73-71, Hennie Otto (SAf) 74-71-70



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