Zhang keeps PGA rivals at bay

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 December, 1998, 12:00am

Zhang Lianwei continued his inexorable march to victory in the Hong Kong PGA Invitational Championship at Clearwater Bay yesterday.

With a typically gutsy two-under-par 68 at the Sai Kung course, the Chinese number one maintained his overnight seven-stroke advantage.

Going into this morning's final round, Zhang has a 54-hole aggregate of 197.

That is made up of a pair of 68s at Clearwater Bay and a record-breaking 61 over the Old Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Wednesday's opening round.

As if it's not bad enough news for the rest of the field that Zhang is so far ahead, his pursuers will not exactly be heartened by the fact that the tournament returns to Fanling's Old Course for its climax today.

The only two players with even a remote chance of catching Zhang are Wu Xiangbing, his Shenzhen clubmate and China international teammate, and Hong Kong's Dominique Boulet.

Boulet, the PGA champion in 1995, matched Zhang's 68 yesterday to keep himself in second place.

Wu also enjoyed a good outing, producing a three-under-par 67, the lowest round of the day, to climb into third spot on 206.

There is then a five-stroke gap back to fourth place, which is shared Derek Fung, Brad Schadewitz and former champions Yau Sui-ming and Lim Kian Kee of Singapore.

For either Boulet or Wu to win today, they would have to shoot in the low to mid-60s. And even then they'd need to rely on Zhang failing to break par.

The former may be possible, but with Zhang in his present mood, the latter appears unlikely.