Knox: I need to pro­duce the round of my life

Scot hopes to chase down Mat­suyama in or­der to re­tain his crown in Shang­hai

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

Rus­sell Knox has vowed to take an ag­gres­sive ap­proach as he tries to over­haul Ja­pan’s Hideki Mat­suyama and make a suc­cess­ful ti­tle de­fence in the WGC-HSBC Cham­pi­ons.

The Scot trails the in-form Mat­suyama by three shots head­ing into to­day’s fi­nal round in Shang­hai as he tries to be­come only the sec­ond player af­ter Tiger Woods to re­tain a World Golf Cham­pi­onships ti­tle.

Mat­suyama, who is a ca­reer-high 10th in the world af­ter win­ning the Ja­pan Open a fort­night ago and fin­ish­ing sec­ond in Malaysia last week, carded a bo­gey-free 68 to fin­ish 17 un­der par, with Knox card­ing five birdies and one bo­gey in his 68.

Amer­i­can Daniel Berger is a shot be­hind Knox af­ter a third round of 67, with Italy’s Francesco Moli­nari and Amer­i­can Bill Haas an­other stroke adrift on 12 un­der.

“I’m not go­ing to give up my ti­tle with­out a big fight,” said Knox, whose fi­nal round gets un­der­way to­day at 6.35am UAE time. “I look for­ward to ev­ery minute and see what hap­pens.

“The way Hideki played, he’s prob­a­bly go­ing to play sim­i­lar in the fi­nal round. I’m go­ing to have to be foot down, be ag­gres­sive and try and catch him. I’m thrilled to be in this po­si­tion.

“I’ll prob­a­bly have to play close to the round of my life. I’m go­ing to have to play ex­cel­lent golf, be pa­tient and hole some putts. It’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult but I can’t wait for it.”

Mean­while, de­spite his three-shot ad­van­tage, Mat­suyama in­sists he will take noth­ing for granted thanks to the strength of the field in Shang­hai.

“I have a three-stroke lead but I can’t think about that,” he said. “There are so many good play­ers be­hind; I just have to worry about my own game and play one shot at a time.

“The way I played in the third round, four birdies was good. I’m just glad I didn’t make any bo­geys.

“There are no nerves about be­ing in the lead, but maybe a lit­tle be­cause I have a chance to win. I just have to go out and en­joy the day and do my best.”

Mat­suyama has al­ready won once on the PGA Tour this sea­son, tak­ing the Phoenix Open ti­tle in Fe­bru­ary.

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