European Tour

Levy maintains lead in China

Alexander Levy (AFP)
Alexander Levy (AFP)

Shenzhen - Spain's Alvaro Quiros remained hot on the heels of leader Alexander Levy at the $3.2 million Volvo China Open on Saturday, as Ian Poulter branded his own position on the board "disgraceful".

Big-hitting Quiros - winner of six European Tour titles - goes into Sunday's final round three strokes behind Levy of France after shooting a 68 at the par-72 Genzon Golf Club in Shenzhen.

"I am three shots back... but that is nothing in this game," said the confident Spaniard, who is chasing his first tournament victory for almost two and a half years.

"If Alex plays really well then we might not be able to catch him but it is good to know that I have a chance.

"I've not had the (winning) feeling for a long time," he added.

Quiros, renowned for regularly driving the ball more than 300 yards, has been a world top 50 player but he last won at the Dubai World Championship in December 2011 and is now ranked 240th.

Levy sits 16-under par after a solid 70, which included a crucial 15-foot putt at the last for par, as he bids for a career-first title.

His best finish in a tournament so far was third at last year's BMW International Open.

"I will be nervous," said the world number 282. "But because you are nervous doesn't mean you can't play well."

Quiros bogeyed the last at the 7,145-yard-long course for a total of 13-under, one ahead of Finland's Mikko Ilonen. The Spaniard had been five behind Levy going into Saturday's round.

Tommy Fleetwood of England and Spain's Adrian Otaegui are tied fourth on 11-under.

- Poulter disappointed -

England's Poulter traded seven birdies with two bogeys for a five-under-par round of 67 to leave him a massive ten shots off the lead.

The world number 22, who has been as high as number five in the rankings, would be further up the leaderboard were it not for a two-shot penalty incurred for an incorrect drop on Friday.

"I shouldn't be happy with the position I'm in," said the Ryder Cup veteran, 38.

"I dropped five shots yesterday in two holes. It's unacceptable, it's disgraceful. I should be a lot closer to the lead but that's golf."

Leading the home charge was 18-year-old Li Haotong who propelled himself up the leaderboard with a spotless 67 that leaves him in a tie for eighth.

Another strong showing on Sunday will give the Hunan teenager the biggest paycheck of his young career.

His best finish since turning professional aged just 15 came at the relatively minor New Zealand PGA Championship last year, when he finished joint fifth.

"I am very happy and I hope to keep my name on the leaderboard," Li said.

World number three Henrik Stenson endured another disappointing day, knocking the ball round in 71 shots to move to only minus four.

The Swede had been hoping to advance his quest of toppling Tiger Woods from the top spot of the world standings this week but has failed to shoot in the 60s after flu hampered his preparations.

Stenson started brightly, making birdies at the first and second, but inconsistency set in and he failed to make a charge, dropping three shots.

PGA champion Jason Dufner carded a 69 for his best round of the week but lies in a lowly tie for 30th at three-under par.

The 20th edition of China's national championship is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and OneAsia.

Leading scores after the third round Saturday in the $3.2 million Volvo China Open at Genzon GolfClub:

200 - Alexander Levy (FRA) 68-62-70

203 - Alvaro Quiros (ESP) 67-68-68

204 - Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 69-68-67

205 - Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 70-68-67, Adrian Otaegui (ESP) 68-66-71

207 - Simon Dyson (ENG) 67-71-69

208 - Andy Sullivan (ENG) 71-68-69

209 - Li Haotong (CHN) 73-69-67, Francesco Molinari (ITA) 70-70-69, Chris Doak (SCO) 71-68-70

210 - Ian Poulter (ENG) 69-74-67, Hennie Otto (RSA) 70-71-69, Michael Hoey (NIR) 69-72-69, Julien Quesne (FRA) 69-71-70, Robert-Jan Derksen (NED) 70-69-71

Selected others:

212 - Henrik Stenson (SWE) 71-70-71

213 - Jason Dufner (USA) 73-71-69

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