Knox: I need to produce the round of my life
Scot hopes to chase down Matsuyama in order to retain his crown in Shanghai
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.