Pro Golf Weekly

HNA Open de France: Kinhult Takes Two-Shot Lead into Sunday’s Finale

Marcus Kinhult fired a third-round 67 and will head into Sunday’s finale of the HNA Open de France with a two-shot lead at 10-under par.

Marcus Kinhult of Sweden takes a shot during round three of the 2018 Open de France at Le Golf National. Credit: Getty Images/AFP/Lucas Barioulet

The 21-year old Swede entered the day with a two-shot advantage but after reeling off five-straight birdies on Nos. 5-9 his lead had swelled five. A workmanlike back nine of even-par, though, allowed some of the chasers to close in, particularly Englishman Chris Wood, who carded a final-nine 3-under 32 to reach 8 under.

“It was a bit of a shaky start but then I just hit some good shots and felt better and better throughout the round,” said Kinhult, who will be in search of his maiden European Tour victory on Sunday.

“The momentum kind of kept me going in there so that’s good. It’s going to be nerve-wracking, the first few holes at least. I felt the nerves today for sure, tomorrow is going to be the same I guess.

“It’s a great opportunity. I’m just looking forward to the first tee and to get going again.”

Kinhult and Wood will be joined together in Sunday’s final pairing.

With a low-round 64, Sergio Garcia was also a big mover on Saturday, jumping from T12 to solo-third at 7-under par, one clear of world No. 5 Jon Rahm, who finished birdie-birdie to sign for a 68 and a three-day total of 6 under. The two Spaniards, Garcia and Rahm, will comprise Sunday’s penultimate pairing.

“Obviously I played really well, other than one shot on 18. But I was very proud of the way I came over that one, and hit a great 4-iron into the green,” said Garica.

“You know, obviously the course was a tiny bit more gettable today, a couple of tees up. The greens were still kind of soft and not as much wind as the first couple of days. So it was nice to be able to hit the ball the way I did and obviously got going nicely.”

Sitting T5 at 4-under par were world No. 2 Justin Thomas and Julian Suri. The two Americans, who’ve posted identical scorecards through 54 holes (70-70-69), will be paired together in Sunday’s antepenultimate group.

“I played well again today. I really played well this week. I’ve hit a lot of really quality iron shots. Kind of couldn’t really get a lot going today,” said Thomas.

“You know, I thought I had the opportunity to make a couple birdies. Just left a couple putts short kind of in the heart, but I wasn’t getting it as close to the hole as I was yesterday.

“It was a little bit more benign conditions, a little bit more windy. It should have been easier, but it was a little harder for me for some reason.”

Rounding out the top 10 were Spain’s Adrian Otaegui (66) alongside Swedes Alex Noren (65) and Alexander Bjork (68) at 3 under, one clear of Spaniard Pedro Oriol (70).


THE TOP 10

1. Marcus Kinhult -10 (71-65-67)
2. Chris Wood -8 (70-68-67)
3. Sergio Garcia -7 (72-70-64)
4. Jon Rahm -6 (70-69-68)
5. Justin Thomas -4 (70-70-69)
5. Julian Suri -4 (70-70-69)
7. Alex Noren -3 (73-72-65)
7. Alexander Bjork -3 (73-69-68)
7. Adrian Otaegui -3 (74-70-66)
10. Pedro Oriol -2 (71-70-70)

NOTABLES

11. Matthew Fitzpatrick -1 (71-69-72)
11. Paul Dunne -1 (74-67-71)
11. Shane Lowry -1 (70-75-67)
11. Tyrrell Hatton -1 (74-67-71)
18. Russell Knox E (71-70-72)
21. Ian Poulter +1 (72-74-68)
30. Thomas Pieters +2 (69-73-73)
30. Andy Sullivan +2 (68-75-72)
30. Graeme McDowell +2 (68-77-70)
39. Haotong Li +3 (71-73-72)
39. Shubhankar Sharma +3 (76-69-71)
54. Alexander Levy +6 (73-73-73)


STAT LEADERS

DRIVING
1. Ryan Fox – 324.7 (39)
2. Jacques Kruyswijk – 310.5 (650
3. Li Haotong – 309.3 (39)
40. Marcus Kinhult – 285.2 (1)

FAIRWAYS
1. Alvaro Quiros – 78.6% (30)
2. Jens Dantorp – 76.2% (30)
3. Jorge Campillo – 73.8% (21)
3. Alex Noren – 73.8% (7)
3. Richard Bland 73.8% (57)
30. Marcus Kinhult – 59.5% (1)

GREENS
1. Dylan Frittelli – 83.3% (18)
2. Julian Suri – 79.6% (5)
3. Ian Poulter – 75.9% (21)
3. Jens Dantorp – 75.9% (30)
13. Marcus Kinhult – 70.4% (1)

QUOTABLE

“It’s a great opportunity. I’m just looking forward to the first tee and to get going again.”
– Marcus Kinhult


Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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