Leon D’Souza goes from barely making the cut to tearing it up at Hong Kong Open with scintillating 65
No place like home for the young gun as he shoots up the Fanling leaderboard after Saturday’s third round
He vowed to go as low as he could after making the cut by a whisker, but nobody expected Hong Kong amateur Leon D’Souza to deliver such a scintillating third-round performance at the UBS Hong Kong Open.
After opening rounds of 72 and 70, the 19-year-old hit a 65 featuring seven birdies on Saturday, putting him at three under and shooting him up the Fanling leaderboard.
“It was good to finally hole some putts today,” D’Souza said. “I was hitting it great the first couple of days but didn’t hole anything – I finally did so today.”
The 2017 Hong Kong Amateur Open winner was given a hero’s welcome by the local crowd after a par on the 18th.
“There’s no place like home to be playing,” he said. “I’m playing my best golf in front of all my family and friends. The whole team is here to support, it’s great to see.
“Our coaches have been instrumental in helping us improve over the last year and a bit. Ducky [Tang] gave me some good reads, Tim [Tang] helped me with my alignment and face control, and John [Wallett] helped with my mental preparations.”
D’Souza’s continued presence in the tournament was in doubt on Friday until officials confirmed in the evening he rested just above the cut line.
“There weren’t enough players to push us out,” he said. “It was a really great feeling so I could just go out today and go low – just like I said.”
Another driving force was D’Souza’s playing partner, France’s Clement Sordet, who went one better with a 64 for the day to sit four under.
“He played great,” said D’Souza of Sordet. “It was really quick today and the greens were pure, so we got into the momentum of making birdies and putts.”
It was a momentous occasion for Hong Kong golf – and they are quite hard to come by – but the teenage sensation will put the celebrations on hold for now.
“It’s a confidence booster knowing I can play on a tough course at such a big event, so it definitely helps moving forward,” he said.
“There’s still one more day so I’m going to practise and get ready for tomorrow.”