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Poulter Stays Bogey-Free, Adds To Lead in Hong Kong

Ian Poulter has not made a bogey thru three rounds at the UBS Hong Kong Open, and now has a two shot lead over Graeme McDowell heading to the final round.

Poulter fired a 64 at the Hong Kong Golf Club to stand at (-19) and he’s seemingly in the driver’s seat with just 18 holes remaining.

The Englishman’s third round included four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 3rd hole.  It’s really been quite an amazing run thus far for Poulter as he’s missed just 6 greens over three days and has gotten up down on all six occasions.  With the perennial fan favourite playing with laser like precision, it’s no surprise he’s the prohibitive favourite with the bookmakers at (4-5).

Graeme McDowell’s 63 moved him from 4th to 2nd giving him a chance to challenge Poulter for victory on Sunday.  Assuming he continues his fine play in round four, McDowell seems headed towards his third top-5 in his last four starts.

The US Open Champ’s consistency over the last month is indicative of the overall quality of his game.  He putts well, drives well and has one heck of an iron game.  Accordingly, he’s second on the betting board at (5-2) and with rounds of 65, 65 and 63 he’ll prove a formidable challenge in Poutler’s quest for victory.

McDowell’s countryman Rory McIlroy has cooled somewhat after an opening round 63, but he does sit in a tie for 4th at (-15).  It’ll take a round in the low 60’s for him to mount any sort of challenge for the lead and victory may not be a realistic expectation unless Poulter actually makes a mistake on Sunday.

The young gun from Northern Ireland is going to have to capitalize on his length off the tee if he’s going to make a push for top spot in round four.  To this point, McIlroy has made just 3 birdies on the par-5’s this week and that simply isn’t going to get it done with the degree of talent ahead of him.  The considerable challenge facing McIlroy on Sunday is not lost on the books as he now sits at (7-1).

Other notables.  American Anthony Kang hasn’t completely disappeared thru three rounds (which was widely expected for the 592nd ranked player) and he’ll go to round four at (40-1) despite being just four off the lead.

Sitting alone in third is Englishman Simon Dyson who shot his second straight 65 on Saturday to post (-16).  It’s a tall order to expect him to challenge the game’s best as Dyson’s best finish was a 5th at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.  However, the books surprisingly have him right behind McIlroy at (8-1).


Golf is a good walk spoiled    - Mark Twain

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