Saturday, October 24, 2015


Brave Borja battles to extend Foshan lead

Borja Virto Astudillo is 18 holes away from guaranteed European Tour graduation after the Spaniard extended his lead at The Foshan Open to three despite making no gains on moving day, carding a level par third round 72.
The 24 year old, who is currently in 15th place in the Road to Oman Rankings, has now strengthened his lead by one shot every day having sat at the top of the pile for each round so far, but it was far from an easy day on the links for the Pamplona-born player.
Two birdies in the opening four holes stretched the gap at the top to four momentarily, but Virto Astudillo struggled to his first bogey of the week at the seventh and followed that up with another dropped shot at the eighth.
When Haydn Porteous holed out from a bunker at the par three 11th, the two playing partners were all square on 13 under and it was truly game on in the final group.

 The South African could not build on that momentum, however, and he suffered three bogeys in the space of four holes to fall off the pace.
Virto once again moved clear with a birdie at the 15th and, although a double bogey at the par three 16th stunted his progress, he produced a sublime up and down at the last to remain on a 13 under total and earn a golden opportunity of a wire-to-wire victory which would secure his place on The European Tour next year.
“I’m pleased about my three-shot lead although I’m not so pleased about my day today,” said the former Iowa State University student, who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriot and 2013 Foshan Open champion Nacho Elvira.
“I’m happy with the birdie at 18 too. Obviously it’s good to have a three-shot advantage and that will help me, but I just need to play my best in the final round.
“My putting wasn’t very good today. I started the round well, made two nice putts on the first and then I was two under through four so everything was looking great. 

Then I had a couple of bogeys and suddenly started to play worse. I three putted the eighth from the fringe and had a few more three-putts after that.
“It was a stupid double bogey at 16 – most of the mistakes were with my putting. I didn’t give myself many birdie chances either so I was putting long distance all the time, but I will work on my putting now and hopefully get a good feeling back tomorrow.
“Usually it’s not good to think about the lead you have, but I will try to think more about making the gap wider, so I have that mentality of moving forward and not looking behind.
“I’ve been in this situation before so hopefully I’ll be able to handle the pressure well, just stick to my plan and play hole-by-hole, shot-by-shot.”
Porteous signed for a one over par 73 to share second place on ten under with Dane Joachim B Hansen and Swede Björn Åkesson, who would both make a big jump into the all-important top 15 of the Road to Oman Rankings if they were to emerge victorious.
Both are yet to win on the Challenge Tour and Åkesson, who currently sits in 21st place in the Rankings, is trying to put aside thoughts of what may be on the final day at Foshan Golf Club.
“I’m trying not to think about the Rankings,” said the Malmo player, who will play in the final group with Virto Astudillo. “I’m trying to have as good a tournament as possible, play my own game and try not to think about the future. Of course, it’s tough to ignore it – the top 15 is what all of us want – so of course it’s in the back of the head.
“Yesterday and today I have played really solid. I didn’t hole so many putts on the second day and finished with two bogeys but today I putted well for a four under front nine. I missed a lot of good chances on the back nine and I only made a par at the 18th after getting over the water with my second – unlike yesterday!
“On Saturday when you’re in one of the last groups, it’s always a bit tense, but I started well and then relaxed a bit and got it flowing. I’m swinging the ball well and hitting it nicely.
“I’m trying to win the tournament and on the final day, you never know, somebody could shoot ten under, so I need to shoot a good score tomorrow and that’s what I’m going to focus on.”
Porteous knows all about catching a leader on the final day, having beaten his compatriot Brandon Stone in a play-off at the season-opening Barclays Kenya Open after starting the day one shot off the lead.
Hansen, who is currently 33rd in the Road to Oman, came agonisingly close to victory on several occasions in 2012, when three runner-up finishes helped him to European Tour graduation, but is yet to taste victory.
Northern Ireland’s Chris Selfridge, who has made 12 successive cuts on the Challenge Tour, having only started his maiden professional campaign in May, carded a four under par 68 to move to outright fifth and boost his hopes of moving into the top 45 of the Rankings - thereby earning a place in the season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final.


Par 216 (3x72)
203 B Virto Astudillo (Esp) 64 67 72,
206 J Hansen  (Den) 70 65 71, H Porteous (RSA) 65 68 73, B Åkesson (Swe) 67 71 68,
207 C Selfridge  (Nir) 69 70 68,
208 R Gouveia (Por) 70 66 72, L Jun-Seok (Aus) 69 72 67, S Gros (Fra) 72 67 69, E Dubois (Fra) 67 68 73, J Hahn (USA) 71 69 68,
209 M Søgaard  (Den) 72 69 68, C Hanson (Eng) 69 69 71, C Ding-Gen (Chn) 70 68 71, G Boyd  (Eng) 72 72 65, M Orrin (Eng) 67 75 67, S Tiley (Eng) 71 68 70, A McArthur  (Sco) 74 67 68,
210 M Delpodio  (Ita) 69 72 69, J Makitalo  (Fin) 73 70 67, Z Xin-Jun (Chn) 69 69 72, H Joannes  (Bel) 72 71 67, J Winther (Den) 72 67 71, M Wiegele  (Aut) 70 71 69,
211 G Charoenkul (Tha) 70 70 71, T Murray (Eng) 71 69 71, A Björk (Swe) 69 72 70, C Zi-Hao (Chn) 66 74 71, J McLeary  (Sco) 73 68 70, T Remkes (Ned) 71 68 72, S Walker (Eng) 71 70 70,
212 C Shinkwin (Eng) 71 71 70, P Whiteford (Sco) 73 71 68, H Shao-Cai (Chn) 71 73 68, S Soderberg (Swe) 70 73 69, T Linard (Fra) 72 67 73,
213 C Sordet  (Fra) 75 69 69, L Gagli  (Ita) 71 69 73, S Jeppesen  (Swe) 72 72 69, D Foos (Ger) 73 71 69, R Evans  (Eng) 75 69 69,
214 S Kim (USA) 74 71 69, Z Hui-Lin (Chn) 72 71 71, R Davies (Wal) 71 73 70, R Fox (Nzl) 72 69 73, C Hai-Meng (Chn) 72 70 72, W Harrold (Eng) 70 72 72,
215 M Yiyuan (Chn) 72 71 72, Z Guo-Wu (Chn) 70 72 73, J Sjöholm (Swe) 73 71 71, J Dantorp (Swe) 68 72 75, Y Guang-Ming (Chn) 73 72 70, J Fahrbring (Swe) 72 69 74, E Cuartero Blanco  (Esp) 69 74 72,
216 P Widegren  (Swe) 72 71 73, G Sapp (USA) 73 71 72, J Lima  (Por) 73 71 72,
217 M Schneider (Ger) 71 74 72,
218 R Coles (Eng) 72 72 74, D Lee (SKor) 73 67 78, D Im (USA) 74 71 73,
225 S Yi-Cheng (Chn) 75 70 80,



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