Alfred Dunhill Preview

Alfred Dunhill Preview
The European Tour starts up again this week and Charl Schwartzel defends at the season-opening Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.
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Overnight co-leader Hideki Matsuyama fashioned a 7-under-par 32-33=65 in today's third round of the Hero World Challenge to reach the three-quarter pole on 19-under 197, good for a seven-shot lead over overnight co-leader Dustin Johnson, who shot 72, and Henrik Stenson, who carded a 66.

The World No. 6 began the third frame co-leading with Johnson on 12-under after opening his third appearance in 65-67. He squared bogeys on holes 8 and 16 but overshadowed them with seven birdies and a hole-out eagle-2 at the seventh. Among the 24-year-old's seven birdies where four birdie-4s on the five par 5s, moving to 13-under for the week on the par 5s alone. The highlight of his lap was the eagle on the drivable par-4 seventh --video link below -- where he chose to layup off the tee and then jarred home a one-bounce eagle from 86 yards away. Matsuyama is going for his fourth win in his last five worldwide starts, opening the run with a three-shot win at the Japan Open and winning the WGC-HSBC and the Taiheiyo Masters by seven shots each.
Dec 3 - 5:07 PM

Benjamin Hebert's liking for Leopard Creek continued Saturday, the Frenchman posting a 4-under-par 33-35=68 in round three at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa to nudge a spot up the leaderboard to solo fifth.

Hebert finished third in this event last year and has the chance to improve on that tomorrow after arriving at 12-under 204. That's five shots behind leader Brandon Stone and two back from a trio in T2 (Charl Schwartzel, Chris Hanson and Keith Horne). Hebert circled the first of his seven birdies today at 3 but that came between bogeys at 1 and 4 as he fell back early. It didn't deter the 29-year-old and he proceeded to splash red at six of his next 11 holes. Those gains at 5, 6, 9, 11, 13 and 15 took him to 13-under but he gave one back at 16 and then closed with a pair of pars.
Dec 3 - 11:25 AM

Chris Hanson remained in T2 at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa after painting a 4-under-par 33-35=68 in Saturday's third round to arrive at 14-under 202.

The Englishman picked off eight birdies in his afternoon lap of Leopard Creek but four bogeys meant he slipped three behind leader Brandon Stone having started the day just one back from the young South African. Hanson went to the turn in 33 with red at 2, 6 and 8 against a bogey at 7. He picked up further shots at 10, 11 and 13 but gave all those gains back with squares at 12, 14 and 16. The wild ride continued with a birdie at 17 and another at the last, meaning he parred just two of his final 13 holes. He'll play in the final group Sunday alongside leader Stone and another South African, Keith Horne.
Dec 3 - 11:06 AM

Charl Schwartzel's hopes of winning his home Alfred Dunhill Championship for the fourth time in five years and fifth occasion overall remain intact but he'll have to come from three back in Sunday's final round after carding a 4-under-par 35-33=68 on day three to reach 14-under 202.

Nothing wrong with his score today but halfway leader and playing partner Brandon Stone added a 66 to open up daylight. Schwartzel couldn't get it going early at Leopard Creek and had to settle for a one-birdie, one-bogey 35 on his outward nine. But, as in the first two rounds, he found his rhythm on the par 72's back nine and reeled off birdies at 10, 11, 12, 13 and 15 to eat into Stone's lead. The gap was two at that stage but Schwartzel ended the day three behind after a bogey-par-par finish. "I need to put myself in play more on the front nine. My putting is really beautiful and I just need to give myself more opportunities and I'm not doing that on the front nine," he said. "Hopefully tomorrow I can just play a little better from the beginning." As the final player of the trio to post 14-under, he's denied a place in Sunday's closing three-ball. Schwartzel will tee off in the penultimate group alongside Frenchman Benjamin Hebert and Scotland's David Drysdale.
Dec 3 - 10:56 AM

Veteran Keith Horne has never won on the European Tour but is in position to land his first title after posting a 5-under-par 34-33=67 in round three of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in his native South Africa on Saturday, up two spots on the leaderboard to T2.

That's three swings behind fellow South African Brandon Stone. The 45-year-old banked nine birdies in yesterday's 66 and circled seven more today. He started his count at 2 and 3 but the next, at 7, was sandwiched between bogeys at 5 and 8. Horne signed for a par at 10 and then made his move by connecting four straight circles from Nos. 11-14. Four closing pars saw him arrive at 14-under 202 alongside defending champion Charl Schwartzel and England's Chris Hanson. If Horne manages to take victory on Sunday, it will come in his 200th European Tour start.
Dec 3 - 10:43 AM

Brandon Stone authored a third-round 6-under-par 31-35=66 in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek on Saturday, extending his one-shot overnight lead to three with 18 holes to play.

Stone made his European Tour breakthrough when winning last year's South African Open and he's in golden position to cash in again at a home-soil event. He posted 17-under 199 today after a lap featuring seven birdies and a lone bogey took him three clear of defending champion Charl Schwartzel, compatriot Keith Horne and England's Chris Hanson. Stone set the tone with an opening par breaker and a six-footer for birdie at 4 sparked further gains at 5 and 6. He built his lead by starting the back nine with three birdies against a bogey at 12 and finished with five straight pars, including a 25-foot save at 16, to stay in command. "I played some good golf the whole day," said the 23-year-old. "I holed some putts, hit some good shots, got a really, really lucky break on the last there but all of those missed putts for the last three days just cashed in there."
Dec 3 - 10:32 AM

John Senden constructed a bogey-free card of 4-under-par 33-35=68 which earned him T4 on 10-under 206 in the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines Resort, Queensland.

The local initially made his move on the front nine, splashing red at the 4th, 8th and 9th holes. Whilst others struggled in a day of blustering wind, he remained calm and collected. The back nine witnessed plenty of blue for the key challengers so Senden's eight pars and sole birdie at the 17th represented a solid achievement; he duly progressed up the leaderboard. He lies four back of the leader Andrew Dodt and will play the final round alongside pre-tourney favorite Adam Scott. Senden has not contended for a title since he was T3 after 54 holes of last year's UNIQLO (Australian) Masters; he finished T2. Before that you must go back to early 2014 when he was again T3 after three rounds in the Valspar Championship and PLAYERS' Championship; he won the former and was T26 in the latter.
Dec 3 - 4:15 AM

A flat back nine cost Adam Scott the chance of making the final group Sunday; he carded 2-under-par 32-38=70 and lies T4, four back of the leader Andrew Dodt in the Australia PGA Championship, on 10-under 206 at RAVC Royal Pines Resort.

The world number seven blitzed the front nine on Moving Day, making birdie at 3 and 8 before topping it all with an eagle-3 at the 541-yard par-five 9th. But he found water on both the 10th and 13th, could only make bogey at both holes, and when he finally rediscovered red (at the par-five 15th) he immediately gave the shot back at the 16th. "I’m going to have to shoot a low score but there’s a low one out there, that’s for sure," he said afterwards. "After such a good front nine I kind of stalled my way in, but I’m still in there. If I can get off to a fast start and have a front nine as good as today’s, then I’ll be right in the tournament."
Dec 3 - 4:07 AM
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