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Scott, Aussies struggle at Shanghai golf

AP – World No.


2 Adam Scott and fellow Australian Mark Leishman face a big task to challenge the leaders, going into Sunday’s final round of the HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai.

Leishman is seven shots behind leader Graeme McDowell in a tie for 10th with a four-under-par total of 212, while Scott is one stroke behind his countryman (T15) on three-under 213.

Leishman fired a third-round 69 on Saturday and Scott had to be content with a one-under 71.

McDowell (205) will take a one-shot lead into the last round, with a host of top players ready to capitalise on any slip-up.

The Northern Irishman shot a one-under-par 71 in cold, windy and damp conditions to stay ahead of seven players within four shots, including US Open champion Martin Kaymer, Masters champion Bubba Watson, fellow American Rickie Fowler, South African Tim Clark and England’s Ian Poulter.

In second place is Japanese surprise package Hiroshi Iwata and McDowell confessed he knew nothing about the man who qualified by finishing third on the Japan Tour order of merit.

“I saw him make one golf swing. I never heard of him,” said McDowell. “Looked like a beautiful golf swing. But genuinely, I’ve never heard of him – no disrespect meant.”

Iwata, 33, rolled home a 30-foot birdie putt on 18 for a 68 to follow Friday’s 65 – the low round of the week.

“Maybe tomorrow coming up the last few holes, I might get a little bit nervous but, so far, I’m calm,” Iwata said.

Watson and Kaymer are at nine-under after shooting 69 and 66 respectively.

McDowell hammered home a 30-footer of his own for a birdie and Watson three-putted for a double bogey and, in an instant, fell five behind.

That stretched to six when Watson bogeyed the short 12th. But he closed the gap to two with four birdies and a bogey in his last five holes as McDowell dropped back to 11-under with a bogey at 17.

Kaymer quietly put together the round of the day as only 15 players in the elite 78-man field broke 70 on the 7261-yard par-72 layout.

The German notched four birdies on the front nine and three more coming home with one bogey on 15.

“Finally I could make some putts today,” Kaymer said. “The first two days, I played already really well but the putter was a little cold.”

Of the other Australians in the field, John Senden is out of contention at two-over 218, along with Matt Jones (six-over 222) and Michael Hendry (eight-over 224).