Three-time runner-up Scott Barr surges into three-shot lead at Hong Kong PGA Championship

Australian is on the verge of finally overhauling Unho Park as he takes a healthy lead into the final round at Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 January, 2016, 5:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 January, 2016, 5:28pm
Scott Barr is on the verge of shedding his bridesmaid tag at the Ageas HKPGA Championship after firing a three-under-par 67 at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club to take a healthy lead heading into the final round on Wednesday.
The Australian, who has finished second to compatriot Unho Park in the past three editions of the long-running event, handled the gusty conditions at the cliff-top course with aplomb, finishing with four birdies in his final five holes to surge to the top of the leaderboard.
Barr, who opened up with a level par 70 at Hong Kong Golf Club on Monday, leads by three from Park, who struggled to a 72, with Hong Kong amateur Leon D’Souza occupying third spot, a further stroke adrift.

“I was pleased with how it went today, especially on the back nine where I managed to hit a few nice shots and make some good putts,” said 43-year-old Barr, an Asian Tour regular.

“I’m going to approach the final round like any other – I’m going to be aggressive. If I can build a substantial lead I might become more conservative, but let’s see how it goes. I’m looking forward to it.”

READ > How does he do it? Unho Park leads again at the Hong Kong PGA Championship

Park, by contrast, was luckless on the greens – he had four three-putts – but an eagle at Clearwater Bay’s par-five closing hole gave him an outside chance of extending his championship record to four consecutive wins if he can put in a strong showing over Hong Kong Golf Club’s Eden Course on Wednesday.

“It was a struggle out there,” said the 42-year-old. “I’m three back and chasing, so I’m just going to go out and try to make as many birdies as I can to put the pressure on.”

READ > Major winner Rich Beem hopes to play this time as he returns to Hong Kong for HKPGA Championship

D’Souza, 17, will join Barr and Park in the final group, and is relishing the opportunity of taking on his professional counterparts.

“I’m in the final group of a pro event, so it’s going to be a great experience whatever happens,” said the reigning Hong Kong Open Amateur champion, who came in with a 71.

I’m going to be aggressive. If I can build a substantial lead I might become more conservative, but let’s see how it goes
Scott Barr

Hong Kong-based pros Nathan Goulding and James Stewart both made big moves in the second round, with scores of 65 and 67 respectively, to climb into a share of fourth place, four shots ahead of tournament drawcard Rich Beem.

The American major winner, who captured the 2002 PGA Championship after holding off Tiger Woods down the closing stretch, carded a 72 for solo seventh place.