Golf

Branden Grace leads in China

2012-04-21 11:50
Branden Grace (Gallo Images)

Tianjin - Branden Grace of South Africa will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the China Open after he shot an 8-under 64 at Binhai Lake near Beijing Saturday.

The 23-year-old South African moved to 18 under, three clear of defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium.

Grace had started the third round one shot off the lead but picked up four shots in three holes, sinking a 15-foot eagle putt on the sixth green.

On a day of light winds and low scoring, Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay also shot a 64 to move to 14 under, four strokes back, while Alexander Noren of Sweden had a 63 to join four other players on 13 under.

Grace is looking for his third victory on the European Tour in 2012 having already won the Joburg Open and Volvo Golf Champions tournaments in South Africa in January.

Having beaten major winners Retief Goosen and Ernie Els to win The Champions on a very similar course at Fancourt in South Africa, Grace's confidence is high.

"I can draw from experience," said Grace who had seven birdies in his round and only dropped one shot when he three-putted the 14th green. "I am feeling really positive after getting my first two wins early in the year and just wanting to keep on pushing on from there. The difference all this year has been that I have been holing more putts.

"But this course here in China is very similar to Fancourt. It is long has the same links feeling about it and I am getting the same feelings."

Colsaerts, attempting to defend the title he won last year and playing alongside Grace, started slowly but four birdies in the back nine allowed him to sign for a 6-under 66.

Noren's 9-under 63 was the lowest round of the day. He was joined on 13 under by France's Jean Baptiste, who had held a share of the halfway lead, but dropped back with a 2-under 70.

The other overnight leader, Gary Boyd of England, started his third round by dropping two shots in three holes and a 71 put him six shots adrift of Grace.


Leaderboard:

Branden Grace (South Africa) 67 67 64 201

Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium) 68 67 66 202

Fabrizio Zanotti (Paraguay) 70 68 64 203

Alexander Noren (Sweden) 68 72 63

George Coetzee (South Africa) 72 67 64

Ignacio Garrido (Spain) 67 69 67

Marcus Fraser (Australia) 67 69 67

Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (France) 66 67 70 204 Fredrik Andersson Hed (Sweden) 66 74 64

Francesco Molinari (Italy) 72 65 67

Gary Boyd (Britain) 66 67 71 205 Richard Finch (Britain) 67 73 65

Joost Luiten (Netherlands) 66 71 68

Victor Dubuisson (France) 69 68 68 206 Ricardo Gonzalez (Argentina) 68 73 65

Johan Edfors (Sweden) 71 69 66

Robert-Jan Derksen (Netherlands) 68 69 69

Scott Strange (Australia) 66 71 69

Danny Willett (Britain) 69 68 69

Choi Jin-Ho (South Korea) 69 67 70 207 Andrea Pavan (Italy) 72 67 68

Edoardo Molinari (Italy) 70 69 68

Paul Lawrie (Britain) 72 67 68

Julien Quesne (France) 70 68 69

Ricardo Santos (Portugal) 70 68 69

Pablo Larrazabal (Spain) 68 70 69

Jbe Kruger (South Africa) 66 72 69

Gareth Paddison (New Zealand) 68 68 71 208 Ashley Hall (Australia) 71 71 66

Shane Lowry (Ireland) 71 69 68

Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spain) 70 70 68

Richard Green (Australia) 69 70 69

Matthew Baldwin (Britain) 65 73 70 209 Simon Dyson (Britain) 71 70 68

Soren Kjeldsen (Denmark) 68 72 69

Damien McGrane (Ireland) 67 71 71 210 David Drysdale (Britain) 70 72 68

Scott Jamieson (Britain) 74 67 69

Thorbjorn Olesen (Denmark) 68 73 69

Peter Hanson (Sweden) 71 69 70

James Morrison (Britain) 71 69 70

Peter Whiteford (Britain) 70 69 72

Oliver Wilson (Britain) 70 67 73 211 Brett Rumford (Australia) 73 69 69

Anthony Wall (Britain) 68 72 71 212 Soren Hansen (Denmark) 72 70 70

Ian Poulter (Britain) 71 71 70

Jamie Donaldson (Britain) 71 71 70

Gareth Maybin (Britain) 71 70 71

Rhys Davies (Britain) 72 69 71

Keith Horne (South Africa) 72 68 72

Colin Montgomerie (Britain) 68 72 72 213 Estanislao Goya (Argentina) 73 69 71

Michael Hoey (Britain) 74 68 71

Niclas Fasth (Sweden) 71 71 71

Oscar Floren (Sweden) 72 69 72

Huang Wenyi (China) 72 68 73 214 Graeme Storm (Britain) 67 75 72

Markus Brier (Austria) 68 74 72

Bradley Dredge (Britain) 70 72 72

An Byeong-Hun (South Korea) 69 73 72

Richie Ramsay (Britain) 67 75 72

Lorenzo Gagli (Italy) 70 71 73

Jeev Milkha Singh (India) 75 66 73

Peter Lawrie (Ireland) 69 71 74 215 Felipe Aguilar (Chile) 71 71 73

Zhang Lianwei (China) 69 71 75 216 Mikko Ilonen (Finland) 72 70 74 217 Alejandro Canizares (Spain) 69 73 75 220 Carlos Del Moral (Spain) 72 70 78

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