Friday, 19 March 2010
Omega Mission Hills World Cup - Round Two  (Getty Images)
Omega Mission Hills World Cup - Round Two (Getty Images)

Brendan Jones holed a birdie putt on the last to ensure Australia take a share of the lead alongside Spain going into the final round of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup.

Having started the third round fourballs four shots behind overnight leaders Spain, Jones and team-mate Richard Green returned to the clubhouse with a nine under par 63 to move Australia on to a 22 under par 194 for the championship.

Miguel Angel Jiménez and Pablo Larrazabal failed to build on their superb 63 in the second round foursomes for Spain as they signed for five under par 67 on the Olazábal course at Mission Hills Golf Club.

Australia cut into Spain's lead early when Green shot two successive birdies from the second before Japan Tour regular Jones added three more before the turn.

Green picked up shots on the par five 11th and 14th but Australia still trailed Spain by three strokes heading onto the final few holes.

However, the defining moment in the round came on the 15th when Jones shot an eagle three, hitting a nine iron to within six feet before making the putt.

Larrazabal bogeyed the same hole for Spain before Jones sank a birdie putt from three feet on the 18th to move Australia into a share of the lead.

"It was a solid performance," said Green. "Brendan was there when I needed him and I would like to think I was there for him.

"It was a good, solid day and we are right in contention."

Green denied that Spain’s superb display in the foursomes on Friday made them favourites to succeed in the final round.

He added: “They had an exceptional round of golf in that format. It's a very difficult format to play, because you struggle to get your own momentum going. You might hit a lot of drives during the round.

“I can remember how I hit about four iron shots on Friday, and hitting a lot of putts and a lot of drives, a lot of three woods. But there are certain parts of your game that you don't necessarily do. But I guess in regards to Spain replicating that round of golf, I personally doubt it.

“I think it's going to be a little bit tougher tomorrow, obviously a lot more pressure to win the tournament, and I think a good score is going to be anything in the 60s.”

“The game was not at the level of the first two days,” said Jiménez. “We made a lot of mistakes. On 15, the par five, we dropped a shot, and in this format that's like killing yourself.”

Sweden, represented by the two highest ranked players at the tournament in Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson, are third at 18 under after a 66 while Germany are a further stroke behind in fourth place following their 68.

European Order of Merit winner Karlsson admitted his fellow Ryder Cup player had been the key to their round.

“Henrik played really well, I struggled big time,” he said.

“It was good that we got away with a 66, because I didn't help him out very much. I stepped in a couple times around the turn when he was not playing so good.”

Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Paul McGinley maintained their impressive displays at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup after a four under 68 left them on 15 under for the tournament.

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