Knox’s Patience Tested By Turkish Airlines Last Hole Double

Russell Knox’s patience was tested when the Scot doubled the last on day three of the Turkish Airlines Open in Belek.

Knox found himself pushed back well into economy class and dropping from a business-like bogey-free top-10 before finding water with his last drive in a round of 69 to be just inside the top-20 at eight-under par.

China’s Haotong Li is set to create further European Tour history after seizing a three-shot lead heading to the final round of the Turkish Airlines Open in Belek.

Li, 23 eagled the 10th hole and managed six birdies in a blistering eight-under par 63 to move to 17-under on the Regnum Caya course.

England’s and defending champion, Justin Rose (69) and Frenchman Alex Levy (66) share second place on 14-under par.

Li commenced his round sharing fifth place and trailing three shots behind Rose but moved one stroke clear of the Turkish field with five birdies over his opening nine holes.

The Shanghai-born Le then stood in complete surprise, and with both arms out-stretched, when his 8-iron second shot from 173-yards out at the par-4 10th hole run up off the back upward portion of the green but then rolled back down the slope and into the hole.

The current World No. 50 ranked Li, and a management stablemate to Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar and Rose, then stretched his lead eventually to four strokes when he birdied the par-5 12th hole.

He said: “The eagle was the highlight of my day, for sure, and that was quite a special moment for myself.”

If Li wins in Turkey he will become the first China-born golfer to win twice in season and also join countryman Ashun Wu to capture three European wins.

Knox singled out his wife, Andrea for her ‘pep talk’ post his opening 70 and then producing a Turkish delight 65 on day two.

Now he was staring a spending Saturday night with wife, Andrea and sister-in-law Maria and getting the Scot’s head back into shape.

He said:  “I and going to need Andrea and Maria getting me sorted out as I blinkin’ need it.

“The last hole just sucked. I have got to start feeling better over a shot like that at the last.   I have 70-yards wide of grass to hit my tee shot and it’s no excuse to miss that left like I did”.

Knox had earlier birdied four and seven for a second day running along with birdies at 10 and 15.

He said:  “ I played alright and to be honest it could have been a lot worse.  I hit almost in the water on nine, almost in the water on 10 and made a miracle up-and-down on five.  I wedged it good and overall, it probably looked better than it was.

“If I had of put a decent swing on my drive there at the last I could have made par and walk away with a bogey-free four-under and looked pretty good.

“My tee shot there at 18 almost landed on the 17th rather than the 18th and I really have to do a better job than that.

“It was just hopeless from my view.”

Stephen Gallacher, and the only other Scot in the field, posted a second straight level par 71 to remain at one-under par and sharing 53rd place in the 78-player field.

 



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