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November 15, 2009

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Bourdy goes two clear with birdie blitz in HK

FRENCHMAN Gregory Bourdy conjured up a seven-under-par 63 to snatch sole possession of the lead after the third round of the Hong Kong Open yesterday.

The 27-year-old carded seven birdies in a near-flawless display for a 16-under total of 194 and a two-stroke cushion over joint overnight leader Robert-Jan Derksen.

Dutchman Derksen fired a 65 while Britain's Rory McIlroy went third on 11-under after a 65 of his own, boosting his chances of overtaking Lee Westwood at the top of Europe's money list. Westwood returned a 69 to end his challenge and leave him tied for 33rd on five-under at the US$2.5 million tournament.

The Race to Dubai leader continued to struggle on his debut at Fanling, the Briton's hopes of keeping pace with McIlroy dented by three bogeys on the front nine.

Bourdy was delighted with his superb putting.

"It was a fantastic round - one of my best ever rounds," Bourdy told reporters. "I am going to try and keep my putter warm because it was unbelievable today. "

Chinese Taipei's Lin Wen-tang, who beat McIlroy in a playoff to win last year's title, produced a 67 to join three others on 10-under, including twice former champion Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Overnight leader

Another overnight leader, China's Liang Wenchong, faded, shooting four bogeys for a two-over 72.

In Melbourne, an out-of-sorts Tiger Woods battled to a share of the lead after the third round of the Australian Masters yesterday, as his rivals failed to capitalize on an off-day for the world No. 1.

Woods held a three-stroke lead going into the third round and seemed set to charge ahead after draining a monster birdie putt on the par-four second. But that was almost as good as it got for the 14-time major champion, who said he felt lucky to escape with an even-par 72.

Woods ended the day joint leader with local hopes Greg Chalmers and James Nitties on 10-under at the A$1.5 million (US$1.4 million) event. American Jason Dufner and Australia's Cameron Percy are two shots further back.

"I was very fortunate, somehow I found a way to shoot even par today because it certainly should have been a lot worse than that," Woods told reporters at Kingston Heath Golf Club.

After recovering to shoot a four-under 68 after a mid-round slump with the driver a day earlier, Woods's troubles extended yesterday, the American finding bunkers on the sixth and eighth, and the fairway of the 10th when he was playing nine.


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