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Saturday, 04 May 2019
Benjamin Hebert  (Getty Images)
Benjamin Hebert (Getty Images)

Benjamin Hebert came home in 28 to post a stunning 64 and take a three shot lead into the final round of the Volvo China Open.

The Frenchman entered the day at Genzon Golf Club four shots behind overnight leader Wu Ashun and was five back just after the turn as the overnight leader opened up a four shot lead over the field.

But as the 2015 champion fell back, Hebert powered forward, making six birdies and an eagle on the back nine to move to 17 under.

Spaniard Jorge Campillo and Finn Mikko Korhonen were at 14 under, a shot clear of Wu, who had to settle for a level par 72.

Hebert just missed out on a maiden European Tour title as he lost in the final of last season's Belgian Knockout but he will have another chance for glory on Sunday after recording the lowest nine holes to par of the 2019 Race to Dubai.

The 32-year-old knows how to get over the line with six wins on the European Challenge Tour and established a 54 hole lead on the European Tour for the first time.

“Crazy game, isn’t it?," he said. "I played very badly on the front nine where I didn’t feel good in my swing. I just tried to keep focused on what I’m doing and I found my rhythm in the back nine so I’m happy.

“It’s my first time leading after 54 holes and we’ll see. I’ve worked to be in this position and it’s going to be a very early start so hopefully we’ll have some good conditions and we’ll see what happens.

“I don’t want to look ahead, I just want to focus on the rest of my day, my rest and see what happens tomorrow.”

Hebert birdied the second but gave the shot back on the ninth to turn in 36 as Wu threatened to run away with his home open.

The three time European Tour winner spun his approach to the first to tap-in range, then holed from seven feet on the eighth and six feet on the tenth to lead by four.

But when he missed the green and had an awkward stance at the 12th for just a third bogey of the week, he sparked a run of four dropped shots in a row to blow the event wide open.

Campillo had made a birdie from ten feet on the first but gave the shot back at the second before birdieing the ninth and tenth.

Korhonen joined him at 12 under as, after birdieing the first and second, he made a hat-trick of gains from the 11th.

He gave a shot back at the 14th but hit a stunning tee shot into the 16th, left himself five feet on the par five next and got up and down from the front of the driveable last to set the clubhouse target.

Hebert's incredible back nine started with approaches to inside six feet on the tenth and 11th before he got to the side of the green in two at the par five 13th.

He put an approach to tap-in range at the 15th, a tee shot to four feet at the 16th to share the lead, and when he rolled in a 16 foot putt for eagle on the next, he led by two.

An up and down from the front of the last then moved him three clear of Korhonen and playing partner Campillo, who had a birdie-birdie finish as he goes in search of back to back wins.

Wu ended his wretched run with a fantastic long putt at the 16th to get back to 13 under, a shot clear of Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, who signed for a 68.

Spaniard Nacho Elvira and Finn Tapio Pulkkanen were at 11 under, one ahead of Adilson da Silva, Li Haotong, Romain Langasque, Min Woo Lee, Jordan Smith and Erik van Rooyen.

The tee times for round four have been brought forward due to the threat of storms in Shenzhen, with the final group teeing off at 9.21am.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KORHONEN, MikkoFIN18-20
2HEBERT, BenjaminFRA18-20
3CAMPILLO, JorgeESP18-19
4LI, HaotongCHN18-16
T5LORENZO-VERA, MikeFRA18-15
T5LIPSKY, DavidUSA18-15

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