Golf: Karlsson stays in front at Hong Kong Open

Sweden's Robert Karlsson kept up his red-hot form at the UBS Hong Kong Open on Saturday, hitting a four-under-par 66 to lead by four shots, as his rivals tried but failed to catch him.

Karlsson never looked back on his four-shot overnight advantage, with four birdies on the front nine helping him stay out in front against a star-studded field.

The 38-year-old’s only bogey — his first of the tournament — came at the 9th hole, but it was a blip in an otherwise relentless display of golf that leaves him on 16 under par going into the final round here.

“I hit a pretty good second putt but it missed, so that was three putts and a bogey. It had to happen sometime,” said Karlsson, who again relied on accuracy rather than power to post a good score.

The 38-year-old has only played the Hong Kong Open twice and missed the cut on his last visit in 2005 when his power game landed him in trouble.

“I played the course the wrong way and tried to make too many birdies and shot myself in the foot,” he said, admitting that he was in a great position entering the final round Sunday.

“It’s up to me to pull it off,” he said. “If I start looking at leaderboards I would totally lose focus. You can only play your own game.”

Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez moved into second place as he also shot five birdies in a 66 on Saturday to sit at 12 under par.

South Korea’s K.J Choi is one further back after shooting a 65 which included six birdies. He was joined by India’s Shiv Kapur and Australia’s Marcus Fraser, who both shot 65, and Australia’s Marcus Fraser, who scored 64.

Mike Weir, the 2003 US Masters Champion, stayed in contention with a 67 to lie 10 under par.

China’s top player and Asian Tour money leader Liang Wen-chong strengthened his hopes of taking the Order of Merit title as a solid round of 68 left him at eight under par for the tournament but a long way off Karlsson’s lead.

The event is being played over the par 70 course at Hong Kong Golf Club.


Sweden’s Noren storms to French Open title as fellow Swede Kinhult falters

Sweden's Alex Noren came back from a seven-shot overnight deficit to claim a dramatic French Open victory at Le Golf National on Sunday, as the difficult closing stretch of the Ryder Cup course saw a host of challengers slip up.

Sweden's Noren storms to French Open title as fellow Swede Kinhult falters
Swedish golfer Alex Noren holds the trophy after winning the HNA Open de France, as part of the European Tour 2018, on Sunday. Photo: LUCAS BARIOULET / AFP
Fellow Swede Marcus Kinhult had entered Sunday's play with a two-shot lead but struggled through a five-over final round to end in a three-way tie for fifth.
World number 16 Noren fired a brilliant four-under 67 to reach seven-under par for the tournament, before sitting back and watching his rivals falter as he won by a single stroke.
The 35-year-old will be a key figure for Europe when the Ryder Cup gets underway on September 28, and he showed all his qualities by playing the last three holes in two-under.
The big-name pairing of Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm both threatened, but the two Spaniards found water at the 18th, while world number two Justin Thomas never seriously contended.
Julian Suri, who was looking to become the first American winner of the event since Barry Jaeckel in 1972, went to the 72nd hole on eight-under but made a watery double-bogey, while England's Chris Wood also blew a late lead.
That handed Noren, who finished his fourth round 45 minutes before the final group, a 10th European Tour title and first since the BMW PGA Championship in May 2017, when he also fought back from seven shots behind on the final day.
Scotland's Russell Knox carded a final-round 65 earlier in the day to finish tied for second with Suri and Wood on six-under — enough to secure him a spot for the British Open at Carnoustie along with Kinhult and Suri.