Mena Tour champion dominates in Equatorial Guinea

Moving day lived up to its reputation on day three of the 3e Actuaries Open in Equatorial Guinea as Englishman Craig Hinton seized control of the tournament after shooting a breath-taking 7-under-par 65 for a new national record.

The 2016 Mena Tour champion was a model of consistency as he tore up the Presidential Course with a stunning round, which featured a back nine of just 31, to lead Sweden’s Peter Gustafsson and Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya by two at 10-under-par for the tournament.

“I wasn’t expecting that kind of score when I arrived at this tournament and played the practice rounds but luckily things went my way and I managed to chip in on the last to get the national record so it’s a nice thing to have on the CV,” said Hinton who booked his place in the field via the DSA Architects ‘Road to Mongomo’ Qualifier presented by Worldwide Golf at Al Badia Golf Club in Dubai in September.

“Supposedly the back nine is the tougher one so to go out there and shoot 31 is a great achievement. The putts seemed to drop today, which they didn’t the first two days, so I’ll take it.”

The 28 year old started solidly, picking up shots on the second and fourth over the opening nine but it was on the homeward stretch that he really caught fire with birdies on 10, 12, 15, and 16 before capping off a flawless round in style by chipping in from the back left of the green on 18.

“Luke Joy told me about the tournament and it’s been great to get away from England for a while and come to this incredible place with this fantastic golf course,” said Hinton who will line up in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic after topping this year’s Mena Tour Order of Merit with two victories. “It’s an amazing place and the hospitality has been unbelievable so far.

“It would be a great achievement (to win), obviously there’s still 18 holes to play and there are a lot of good players in this field. There’s a lot of trouble out there on this golf course so we’ll take it hole by hole and see what happens tomorrow.”

Meanwhile round two leader Gustafson (pictured below) failed to reproduce the form he’d shown over the first two days, the former European Tour player faltering with a 1-over-ar 73 while playing partner Muthiya fired an impressive 2-under 70 to join him in second place on 8-under-par. Zimbabwe’s Mohammed Mandhu lies in fourth place at 4-under while Portugal’s Stephen Ferreira Da Costa is in fifth place at 3-under.

peter-gustafsson-round-3

In the ladies event Paz Echeverria continued to dominate after a 1-under 71 left her four strokes clear of Luna Sobron at 4-under.

With the winners of the men’s and ladies’ competition each set to win a cheque for $24,000 there’s plenty to play for in tomorrow’s final round.

 

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