Sunday, 11 December 2016
Rafa Cabrera Bello  (Getty Images)
Rafa Cabrera Bello (Getty Images)

Rafa Cabrera Bello opened up a one-shot lead early in the final round of the UBS Hong Kong Open.

Hong Kong Golf Club was playing host to the final round of 2016 on the European Tour and it looked set for an intriguing battle between the Spaniard and Australian Sam Brazel as they entered Sunday locked together at 11 under.

Cabrera Ballo made the first move, birdieing the par five third to get his nose in front while Brazel made a par-par-par start.

English duo Danny Willett and Paul Waring, American David Lipsky and Australia's Jason Scrivener were then at eight under.

Cabrera Bello was not only looking for his first win in almost five years but was also seeking to become the first wire-to-wire winner of the event since it joined the European Tour International Schedule in 2002.

Those players a long way back in the field knew they needed a fast start to apply some pressure to the leaders and playing partners Willett and Peter Uihlein made some early progress.

The Masters Tournament champion recorded a birdie on the fifth and then put his approach on the sixth to tap-in range before making it back-to-back birdies from 20 feet on the next.

Uihlein, meanwhile, had a rollercoaster of a start, bogeying the first before rattling off a hat-trick of birdies and then dropping a shot on the fifth. A 20-footer on the sixth brought another birdie and he had clearly found his range on greens, holing from 50 feet on the seventh.

Scrivener also made an impressive start with birdies on the third and fourth and those three players had all moved to three off the lead alongside Lipsky.

When the leaders got under way, Cabrera Bello made a routine par on the first but Brazel had to work harder, hitting a snap hook off the tee but recovering well to get up and down from 113 yards and stay at 11 under.

Tommy Fleetwood began the day as the nearest challenger at nine under and after two opening pars he got in trouble off the tee on the third and then found the sand to surrender a double-bogey.

Uihlein bogeyed the ninth to also slip to seven under but Waring was moving in the other direction, making six birdies and a bogey in his first 14 holes to move three off the lead.

Cabrera Bello found the sand with his second shot on the third but got up and down to make his first birdie of the day and hit the front.

Lipsky began his round with three pars.

Paul Dunne, Andrew Dodt, David Howell, Juvic Pagunsan and Carlos Pigem were then alongside Fleetwood and Uihlein at seven under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1BRAZEL, SamAUS18-13
2CABRERA BELLO, RafaESP18-12
T3DODT, AndrewAUS18-11
T3FLEETWOOD, TommyENG18-11
5LIPSKY, DavidUSA18-10
6WILLETT, DannyENG18-9

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