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Pair of Grizzled Vets Lead Hong Kong Open
After No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy was unceremoniously sent home Friday following his missing the cut, two wily veterans took over center stage at the Hong Kong Open. Through 54 holes, 48-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and 43-year-old Michael Campbell now share the lead in the $2.7 million tournament, which started Thursday at Hong Kong Golf Club.
Jimenez carded a 2-under 68, while Campbell, the sole leader through two rounds, had a 69. The duo stand at 10-under 200, one shot ahead of Italy's Matteo Manassero and 47-year-old Zhang Lianwei of China. The 19-year-old Manassero, who won the Singapore Open a week ago, fired a 6-under 64 and Zhang a 69.
Campbell, who said after the second round up upon hearing of McIlroy's departure - "That makes winning the UBS Hong Kong Open a lot easier," was a bit off his game Saturday but still in good position to pull off his first victory since September 2005 in the HSBC World Match Play Championship.
"I wouldn't say I played well today as it was a bit scrappy and really pretty average, but then I managed to grind out a score and that's important when you are not playing all that well," said the New Zealand native.
"It would be very satisfying to be standing here tomorrow night as the . . . winner, given what has happened in my life and with my career the last seven years," he added.
But first he'll have to play well and get past Jimenez, an 18-time winner on the European Tour, and the precocious and red-hot Manassero, who posted five birdies, an eagle on the par-5 13th and a bogey.
The youngster knows he's on a hot streak. "I played well throughout the whole round so everything came together for me," Manassero said. "After winning last week that has made me more relaxed on the golf course, and my position is certainly due to what happened last week as I've got more freedom."
Alone in fifth at 202 is Sweden's Fredrik Andersson Hed (70), while Denmark's Anders Hansen (70) and Ireland's Peter Lawrie (67) share sixth at 203.
Four strokes behind Jimenez and Campbell in a tie for eighth are American Matt Kuchar (66), Pablo Larrazabal (65), Raphael Jacquelin (64), Stephen Gallacher (68) and Marcus Fraser (68).
For complete scoring details, visit http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2012/tournamentid=2012090/leaderboard/index.html?showLeaderboard=Y.