Saturday, September 20, 2014



Sam Hutsby retained the five stroke advantage he began the day with at Zhailjau Golf Resort after a third round 71 kept him in pole position to pick up a first European Challenge Tour title at the Kazakhstan Open.

Starting out with such a commanding lead cannot always be the easiest thing to deal with, but during a round when the Englishman admitted to being nervous on the first tee he handled himself with aplomb, and will head into Sunday as the favourite to claim the €72,000 first prize at 14 under par.

There is plenty of talent stacked up behind the 25 year old though with two-time winner Andrew Johnston very handily placed after a 65 in the third round propelled him into a three way tie for second.

He is alongside Scotland’s George Murray and recent Rolex Trophy winner Byeong-hun An at nine under par, while Frenchman Cyril Bouniol is a shot further back in fifth spot.

As for Hutsby, it was a solid if not spectacular day on the Arnold Palmer design, with two birdies and a bogey proving enough for him to retain his sizeable advantage. It perhaps wasn’t exactly what he was looking for, but with none of those in close attendance making a move below, he is very happy with his position heading into the final 18 holes.

“I didn’t get off to a great start,” said the man at 17th on the Challenge Tour Rankings. “I didn’t hit a very good tee shot on the first, as I was quite nervous, but I managed to find a few greens after that and made a good up and down on the third. I holed a good putt there, and gave myself some chances after that, before a sloppy bogey on eight.

“It is probably the easiest hole on the course, but I hit my drive to the right and didn’t quite study the chip as hard as I should have done, so it rolled off the front and then I three putted from there. I missed a four footer on that green, which is never nice, and then I gave myself a good chance on the ninth and didn’t capitalise.

“After that I just tried to be more aggressive on the back nine, because I was a little tentative on the front, as I’ve not been in this position many times. I wasn’t sure if I should go out and attack and try and breakaway as being too aggressive might lead to bogeys, especially with the pins today, which were really tucked away on little slopes.

“I played really well though on the back nine and on the last three holes I had chances from ten to 15 feet on all of them, but just couldn’t make them as the greens were perhaps not as smooth as earlier in the day.

“I started with a five shot lead though, and that’s what I’ll have tomorrow, so it is a good position to be in, as it would have been a disastrous day if I had of gone backwards to the pack.

“I just wanted to keep the bogeys off the card, but it is hard to know when to attack or when to play safe. I learned a little from today though to take into tomorrow, and I didn’t feel like I played that great, but one bogey and a few birdies gives me plenty to be positive about going into the final round.”

Johnston could well be the danger man on Sunday after he carded a 65, the lowest score of anyone in the field on day three.

Much like Oliver Wilson a day prior, the man affectionately referred to as Beef started with an eagle two at the par four first, before consecutive dropped shots on the next two holes. They would be his only bogeys of the round however, with gains at the fourth and fifth followed by four consecutive red numbers from the eighth tee, and one final birdie at the 15th – all of which has him handily placed to pick up a third win of the season.

Korea’s An signed for the same score as his leading playing partner to be alongside Johnston in second, while Murray broke 70 for the second time this week to also give himself a shot at glory on Sunday.

After playing the second round with no nine iron, Bouniol carded a 66 with his full complement of clubs to give himself an outside chance at a maiden title some six shots adrift in fifth, while compatriot and first round leader, Adrien Bernadet, is part of a six way tie for sixth place at seven under par after a 72.

Alongside him are Matteo Delpodio (69), Ben Evans (68), Jocke Rask (69), Mark Tullo (66) and the 2010 Kazakhstan Open winner Alvaro Velasco (71).

After his course record equalling second round of 63, it was also a day of mixed fortunes for Oliver Wilson, who fell away on Saturday to a four over par 76 and a share of 22nd place.


Par 216 (3x72)
202 S Hutsby  (Eng) 68 63 71
207 G Murray  (Sco) 67 71 69, B An (Kor) 69 67 71, A Johnston (Eng) 72 70 65
208 C Bouniol (Fra) 73 69 66
209 M Tullo (Chi) 68 75 66, A Bernadet  (Fra) 65 72 72, M Delpodio  (Ita) 68 72 69, A Velasco (Esp) 67 71 71, J Rask (Swe) 71 69 69, B Evans  (Eng) 71 70 68
210 J Guerrier  (Fra) 72 66 72, G Cambis  (Fra) 72 69 69, L Jensen (Den) 73 69 68, S Brown (Eng) 70 71 69, R Davies (Wal) 68 71 71, C Shinkwin (Eng) 68 72 70
211 P Oriol (Esp) 68 71 72, H Joannes  (Bel) 75 68 68, E Espana (Fra) 69 71 71, T Linard (Fra) 72 70 69,
212 J Huldahl (Den) 72 71 69, D Ulrich (Sui) 67 73 72, D Vancsik (Arg) 68 74 70, J Stalter (Fra) 71 67 74, P Widegren  (Swe) 68 72 72, J Roos (RSA) 73 70 69, S Fallon (Eng) 68 73 71, M Fitzpatrick  (Eng) 70 68 74, O Wilson (Eng) 73 63 76, W Booth  (Sco) 72 71 69,
213 A Domingo (Esp) 71 71 71, N Lemke (Swe) 71 72 70, P Dwyer (Eng) 70 70 73, L De Jager  (RSA) 74 68 71, C Ford (Eng) 69 73 71, C Paisley  (Eng) 72 70 71, J Lagergren (Swe) 69 74 70, M Pilkington (Wal) 70 71 72, R McGowan  (Eng) 71 70 72,
214 N Johansson (Swe) 69 72 73, T Murray (Eng) 73 70 71, A Björk (Swe) 71 70 73, G Woolgar (Eng) 73 70 71, M Lorenzo-Vera  (Fra) 69 70 75,
215 O Stark (Swe) 72 70 73, W Harrold (Eng) 66 74 75,
216 A Marshall (Eng) 70 71 75, M Lafeber (Ned) 72 71 73,
217 J Gonnet  (Fra) 72 69 76, D Stewart (Sco) 74 68 75, M Wiegele  (Aut) 71 71 75, A Snobeck  (Fra) 72 71 74, T Sluiter  (Ned) 70 73 74, S Tiley (Eng) 70 73 74, J Legarrea (Esp) 71 71 75, C Brazillier  (Fra) 70 72 75, B Åkesson (Swe) 73 70 74,
218 J Garcia Del Moral (Esp) 72 71 75,
219 T Pilkadaris (Aus) 72 69 78,
222 P Edberg (Swe) 72 71 79,



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