CHENGDU, China – Nicolas Colsaerts eagled the first hole and went on to shoot a 6-under 66 Saturday to take a one-shot lead after the third round of the China Open.
The Belgian added five birdies to go with a single bogey for an 18-under total of 198 at the Luxehills International Country Club in the southwestern city of Chengdu.
“I’m pleased the way I played and it is always nice to get off with an eagle start,” said the 28-year-old from Brussels, who regained his European Tour card last year.
“I don’t mind going out in the lead because any advantage you have over the other guys always helps, but there will be some more low scoring out there on the final round, so we’ll see what happens.”
South Korean teenager Han Chang-won was one stroke back after chalking up seven birdies on his way to a bogey-free round of 65.
“I’m a little surprised to be where I am after such a short time as a professional, but I am very pleased to be in a position to win my first pro title,” Han said.
Peter Lawrie of Ireland and France’s Gregory Havret both shot a 68 to lie another shot back in a tie for third, followed by overnight leader Jamie Donaldson of Wales, who shot a 70.
China’s top player, Liang Wenchong, had a disappointing round of 72 to end eight back at 206, while the event’s 2003 winner, Chinese veteran Zhang Lianwei, remained in contention after a round of 70 at 209.
Spain’s Sergio Garcia shot a third round 72 to sit at 205, while 2005 U.S. Open winner Michael Campbell was 15 off the pace at 213.