HONG KONG // Oliver Wilson kept up his quest for a European Tour win by moving ahead of the field after the third round of the UBS Hong Kong Open, while Bernhard Langer rolled back the years with a brilliant performance. The Briton Wilson, looking for a first professional victory after a string of second-place finishes including the recent HSBC Champions in Shanghai, had a shaky start but finished with a 13-under par 65 as his putting gained in confidence.
"You feel like you're losing ground all the time around here, but you've just got to be patient," Wilson said after adding six birdies to his opening hole bogey. "If I can keep getting up there, I'll break through eventually," the Englishman said of his prospect of a maiden win. Lin Wen-tang of Taiwan birdied the last two holes to stand one off the pace at 12 under, while German Langer was a further shot back after a superb round of 63.
Jeev Milkha Singh of India Spain's Pablo Larrazabal, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari of Italy were grouped on 10 under, while Scotland's Colin Montgomerie was nine under. The day, however, belonged to Langer, the two-time US Masters winner, showing his class with a round that included a chip-in eagle on the seventh to put him in position to become the oldest winner on both the European and Asian Tours.
The 51-year-old, who won the event in 1991, showed supreme composure on the greens with a string of long putts to card four successive birdies over the back nine. "This course kind of suits me because it's not that long, I'm not a long hitter so it's more about precision and being straight," Langer said. The European Tour's oldest winner is Des Smyth, who won the 2001 Madeira Island Open at 48, while Choi Sang-ho holds the Asiasn Tour record, the Korean winning the Maekyung Open aged 50 in 2006.
Langer has won four times on the Champions Tour over the past year, though his last major European title was the 2002 Volvo Masters, which he shared with Montgomerie. While many players struggled on the front nine Larrazabal had a solid opening, carding a rare eagle on the challenging par-five third. Montgomerie, the 2005 champion, scuffed the opening hole with a double-bogey but he played his way out of trouble on the ninth, blasting his second shot around 200 yards out of the rough before chipping to within an inch of the hole in a narrow eagle miss.
The defending champion, Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez finished one over par. * Reuters