Swap the sword for a golf club and you have Victor Dubuisson. He’s French, a talent with a stick in his hand and he has a beard. He should start wearing a cravat while out on the course.
The guy hits the ball a country mile. One iron shot today in Turkey went 285 yards. Imagine what happens when he gets his driver out. ‘Thud.’
The 23-year-old leads the Turkish Airlines Open by five shots from some of the game’s best players and is poised to win his first European Tour title after being the world number one amateur.
Better still, the Ryder Cup is in France in 2018 and with no other young talents in the mould of Dubuisson, who is a bit like Jason Dufner with his laid-back demeanour, the game could really grow there as a result.
Here’s hoping for a big win for Dubuisson and the game of golf in France tomorrow. Oh and here’s today’s report…
Former world number one amateur Victor Dubuisson had his ‘best day as a professional’ as he moved five shots clear of the stellar field in the Turkish Airlines Open third round on Saturday to put himself in pole position for a first European Tour title.
The 23-year-old Frenchman mixed his usual booming length off the tee – displayed when he drove the 337-yard par-four 15th to set up his eighth birdie in a nine-under-par 63 – with precision and deft touches around the green to put the likes of world number one Tiger Woods and third-ranked Henrik Stenson in the shade.
England’s Ian Poulter carded a 68 to be alone in second on 16-under while American Woods (68) and Swede Stenson (69) were one further back with another Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, whose 62 bettered Woods’ course record of yesterday by a stroke.
The crowds stood in awe of Woods’ streetfighting abilities as the 14-times major winner scrapped his way around the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course but on another sun-kissed day in southern Turkey it was the French who really shone.
Jacquelin set the tone when the 39-year-old equalled the European Tour record of 12 birdies in a round and then it was over to young buck Dubuisson to streak clear and match the 54-hole European Tour low of the season at 21-under.
“With the situation, it’s the best day I did since I turned pro,” said Dubuisson, anticipating a battle to control his nerves on Sunday.
“I know I have a five-shot lead, but with all these great players tomorrow will be a very tough day.”
The world number 108 began his round with four straight birdies and even when he was slightly off target at the par-five 13th he conjured an exquisite chip up a steep bank from the pine needles to the right of the vast green and drained his eight-foot putt for a four.
A stunning iron to five feet on the par-three 14th followed, the Frenchman muttering ‘Allez’ to the ball as it stopped dead on the green to set up another birdie.
Dubuisson then made a mockery of the short 15th with his driver before closing with a ninth birdie to tee up a fantastic opportunity for his biggest win in the game.
“This week it’s all about my short game. I really improved that in the last few months,” said the Frenchman.
“I’ve been working hard around the chipping green, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, before the tournament starts, so it did help me a lot this week on the par 5s.”
Dubuisson’s graceful play contrasted heavily with that of Woods, often out of position from the tee as cameras and phones clicked constantly around one of the world’s most recognisable sportsmen.
He thrashed spectacularly out of the trees on 11, mildly hurting his hand as the club followed through and whacked a branch, but Woods was soon smiling again when his bunker shot left him a short birdie putt which he duly holed.
Woods rolled in a long putt on 14 to make it two birdies in a row, following his bogey on 12 after another wayward tee shot and finished his day with a sheepish smile when he sunk another lengthy putt for birdie having started the par-five by dragging an ugly wood into the trees.
“I’m not out of the tournament. Got to keep fighting, and that’s the way I’ve always played,” said the 2013 PGA Tour player of the year.
“Yesterday I had it dialled in and it’s always hard to follow up a great round with another low one, but somehow I posted four (under) today.”
* Image courtesy of Pascal – pasukaru76. Many thanks.