cabrera bello scents end to long win drought
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
Arab Today, arab today

Cabrera Bello scents end to long win drought

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Cabrera Bello scents end to long win drought

Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain
Hong Kong - Arab Today

Ryder Cup star Rafa Cabrera Bello recovered from a late stumble to retain a share of the Hong Kong Open lead and move within sight of his first victory in four years on Saturday.

The Spaniard leads alongside Australia's Sam Brazel on 11-under-par 199 after surviving a double bogey on the par-four 14th by birdieing two of his last four holes for level-par 70.

England's Tommy Fleetwood fired three-under-par 67 to lie in sole second spot with an aggregate score of 201, one stroke better than America's David Lipsky who shot 66.

Cabrera Bello, a bright spot in Europe's Ryder Cup defeat in October, is bidding to join fellow Spaniards Jose Maria Olazabal, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Manuel Lara as a Hong Kong winner.

"I had a tough day," said Cabrera Bello, who has topped the leaderboard after all three rounds following his 64 and 65 on Thurday and Friday at Fanling. 

"I didn’t find my rhythm so well, I didn’t find the serenity I had played with the first couple of days, so I struggled with bogeys and birdies." 

But the 32-year-old, who has been waiting for his third European Tour win since the 2012 Dubai Desert Classic, said he would be calm heading into the last day.

"I’ve been joint leader or leading by myself many times, looking for that third win," he said. "So it’s a very common position for me. I’m just confident." 

Brazel, the world number 480, shot 67 to become a challenger for what would be by far the biggest victory of his career. He said keeping his nerves in check would be key on Sunday.

- Rose wilts -

"I'm going to try and control the nerves better than I did... and just enjoy it, enjoy the atmosphere of it all and take it all in, it's been fun," he told reporters.

Brazel, whose partner died suddenly from bacterial meningitis in 2009, said winning the Hong Kong Open would "mean the world" to him.

Fleetwood said an eagle on the par-five 13th had got his "juices flowing" as he also aims to end a long win drought. 

The 25-year-old Englishman has not won on the European Tour since clinching the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

"I haven't won for a long time, I had a year out of the game really -- I was playing dreadful from mid-2015 to mid-this year -- so I've sort of being on a path since August getting my game back," he said. 

Last year's winner Justin Rose admitted he had "no prospects" of victory as he shot 70 to lie one-under for the tournament, where he is struggling to recover from a back injury.

Elsewhere, US Masters champion Danny Willett was six off the lead after a forgettable round of 71 marked by four bogeys on the back nine.

Fellow Englishman David Howell equalled the course record of 63 to lie four shots back from the leaders in a tie for fifth place.

Source: AFP

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