HONG KONG: England’s Aaron Rai extended his overnight advantage from four to six shots by signing for a third round two-under-par 68 at the HONMA Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi on Saturday.
The 23-year-old traded four birdies against two bogeys to compile a three-day total of 16-under-par 194, a score which comfortably kept his compatriots Tommy Fleetwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick at bay at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
Fleetwood signed for a 66 while Fitzpatrick returned with a 68 to share second place on 200 total while Spain’s Sergio Garcia signed for the day’s lowest score after posting a 64 to take tied-fourth place with Australia’s Jason Scrivener.
Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee showed he still can match up against the best players from Asia and Europe despite recently turning 49.
The three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion signed for a 66 to tie France’s Victor Perez for sixth place.
With Korea’s Sanghyun Park making his early exit from the tournament, India’s Shubhankar Sharma could extend his merit lead when he returned with a 67 to share 12th place while close rival, Justin Harding of South Africa fired a 67 for tied-20th place.
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#AaronRai of #england extended his overnight advantage from four to six shots after firing a two-under-par 68 at the @honmahkopen around the @hkgolfclub on Saturday….here’s Aaron’s round in pictures… Read the full story on #BigGolfBlog via the link in our bio _____ #whereitsat #hongkonggolf #europeantour @europeantour #golfstagram #instagolf #golfcourse #golflinks #golfclub #fanling #lovegolf
Did you know?
– Aaron Rai has won three times on the Challenge Tour and is seeking his first win on the main European Tour this week.
– He broke the course record at the HONMA Hong Kong Open with a second round 61.
– When Rai won the Kenya Open last year, his Kenya-born mother tearfully embraced him on the green. This was the first time his mother had returned to the country of her birth since she left it in 1970.
– Thongchai Jaidee is regarded as one of Asia’s greatest players, thanks to an unprecedented three Order of Merit crowns and 13 career victories
– Thongchai’s last victory came in 2016 when he won the 100th Open de France.
– His best result this season so far has been a tied-eight finish at the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour.
– He hit 8/14 fairways, 12/18 greens and made a total of 25 putts.
– Shubhankar Sharma made a total of 31 putts and hit 9/14 fairways as well as 15/18 greens.
– Sharma won his first Asian Tour title at the Joburg Open in South Africa last December and went on to claim his second victory two months later in Malaysia.
– Sharma has played in all four Major championships this year, following the footsteps of Jeev Milkha Singh in 2007 and Anirban Lahiri in 2015 and 2016.
– He is the youngest Indian to do so and he was awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award from the President of India in September.