Irishman Takes Charge in China


2007 Volvo China OpenBEIJING, China -- Irishman Damien McGrane birdied the final two holes Saturday to take a three-stroke lead at the China Open.
McGrane shot a final-round 4-under 68 for a three-round total of 205, putting him three strokes ahead of Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera'who led after each of the first two rounds but only managed an even par 72 on Saturday' and Englands Oliver Wilson, who had a 2-under 70.
Australian Scott Strange had the best round of the day at Beijings CBD International course, shooting a 6-under 66 to put him outright fourth, five shots behind McGrane in the $2.2 million jointly sanctioned European and Asian Tour event.
McGrane, who was runner-up in the Indian Masters in February but was yet to break through for a tournament victory, fired seven birdies and three bogies Saturday.
I finished third last time I was leading going into the final round, McGrane said. I need to use that experience and push on and do better this time around.
I have been close for a number of years now and I am looking for my first win. I have to start somewhere and you start with one. The sooner it comes the better.
Wilson shot five birdies and three bogies, but was left to rue some missed short putts that cost him the lead.
The Englishman has been a runner-up three times in the past 12 months, and is eager to make up for 2005 when he was just pipped to the China Open title by compatriot Paul Casey.
I probably have to shoot a good score, make some birdies and go low, Wilson said. Ive got a chance and Ill try to keep the pressure on.
Lorenzo-Vera, whose two birdies were canceled out by two bogies, is seeking his first title on his first year on tour.
Damien played well today so he has a three shot lead and its going to be quite hard if he continues playing the way he has been doing, Lorenzo-Vera said. Weve to play really well to catch him.
Strange birdied four of the last five holes to move into contention, while defending champion Markus Brier was also within remote striking distance, with his an even par 72 on Saturday leaving him on four under, seven shots off the pace.
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