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Hanson Still Up in China
Though he didn't have his best round of the tournament, a 2-under 70, Peter Hanson remained on top of the leaderboard at the European Tour's $7 million BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club near Shanghai, China.
Hanson got off to a rough start with two birdies and three bogeys to make the turn in 1-over 37. On the home half, the 35-year-old rebounded with three birdies for a 3-under 33 to reach a 54-hole total of 16-under 200.
Hanson said the course changed from previous rounds. "It was playing different and the wind was completely different," the Swede said. "I think it made the golf course play quite a bit tougher today. I didn't get off to the best of starts. Made a few easy mistakes around four, five and eight. A couple sloppy bogeys. It was nice to make a birdie on nine that kind of turned around my round.
"Managed to birdie another few holes coming in; 11, 13 and 15, which are kind of shorter holes where you need to take advantage of, and I think that's what I've been doing throughout the week, birdieing quite a few of the par-5s, and taking advantage of the kind of shorter holes."
Right on his heels a stroke back is the No. 1-ranked player in the world, Rory McIlroy, who shot a 69 that involved four birdies and a bogey. The 23-year-old Northern Irishman, who's attempting to duplicate Luke Donald's 2011 feat of winning the money titles on both the PGA and European tours this year, agreed with Hanson - his teammate on the victorious 2012 European Ryder Cup team - that there was more challenge for the players than in the previous two rounds.
"The conditions were a little trickier than the first couple of days," McIlroy said. "I think that's why the scoring wasn't quite as good as it has been. But you know, I still kept myself in the tournament, shot a round in the 60s. Struggled a bit early on but once I got going, felt like it was okay.
"So pretty pleased going into the last day . . . They mixed a few of the tees around and a couple tricky pin positions. Obviously the wind was up a little bit but it was from a different direction, so made a lot of the holes play a lot differently than they had done the previous two days. Yeah, you had to think about it a little bit more out there."
Only two back of Hanson is South Africa's George Coetzee, who posted a 66, while five back are Michael Hoey (68), Charl Schwartzel (68), Donald (68), Justin Rose (69), Alexander Noren (69) and Shane Lowry (69).
"Another pretty solid round," said Donald, who's posted a 70, 67 and 68. "I would have liked to have got a couple more; I had a couple nasty horseshoes out there and made a poor 6 on 13, the par5, where you're really trying to make birdie.
"Feel like I lost a shot and a half to the field there," Donald added. "Other than that, the swing doesn't feel quite where it needs to be but I'm playing well and I'm making some birdies, but I'm going to need to go low tomorrow."
Six behind Hanson at 206 are Graeme McDowell (66), Ross Fisher (68), Paul Casey (68), Martin Kaymer (69), Louis Oosthuizen (69) and Nicolas Colsaerts (69).
Hanson, McIlroy, Donald, McDowell, Kaymer and Colsaerts are among the 11 European Ryder Cuppers in the tournament.
For all the scores, visit http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2012/tournamentid=2012082/leaderboard/index.html?showLeaderboard=Y.