Benjamin Hebert fires 28 on back nine to seize Volvo China Open lead

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Benjamin Hebert fires 28 on back nine to seize Volvo China Open lead

Euro Tour

Benjamin Hebert fires 28 on back nine to seize Volvo China Open lead

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Benjamin Hebert looked like he was going to have to settle for just a good finish in the $3.4 million Volvo China Open after nine holes of his third round. The 32-year-old Frenchman was going nowhere in the round many refer to as moving day (isn’t every day moving day?). 

Then he discovered anything can happen in this daft sport.

Hebert was six shots off the Ashun Wu’s lead and feeling pretty glum after bogeying the ninth. He birdied the 10th and 11th holes, parred the 12th, birdied the 13th, parred the 14th and then went birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie.  It all added up to 28 shots, 8 under, on the back nine, the lowest nine-hole score since former NC State standout Justin Walters shot 8-under 28 for nine holes in 2015. 

When Hebert finally came to his senses, he’d fired a 64 for a 17-under 199 aggregate, and held a three-shot lead over Spain’s Jorge Campillo and Finland’s Mikko Korhonen.

The Frenchman has six European Challenge Tour wins but is yet to record his first win on the main tour. 

“That’s golf, a crazy game isn’t it?” Hebert said. “I played very badly on the front nine. I didn’t feel good with my swing and just tried to keep focused. I found my rhythm in the back nine.

“It’s my first time leading after 54 holes. I’ve worked to be in this position. We’ll see what happens. I don’t want to look ahead. I just want to focus on the rest of my day, my rest and see what happens tomorrow.”

Indiana alum Campillo is chasing his second win in as many weeks after winning the Trophée Hassan II, his maiden European Tour victory. He added a 4-under 68 to rounds of 65 and 69. 

“It was a good round,” Campillo said. “I didn’t putt as well as the first two days but overall it was a very good round. 

“I wish I could make more putts but it was good as I have a chance tomorrow. 

“I hope to use my experience from last week to win but if Benjamin plays like he did today, then it’s tough. Hopefully I have a chance tomorrow.”

Korhonen is looking for his second European Tour win following last year’s Shot Clock Masters. 

Wu dropped down the leaderboard as a result of four consecutive bogeys from the 12th hole, which cancelled out four birdies in his level-par 72.

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