Saturday, 23 January 2016
Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy moved into a share of the lead alongside Andy Sullivan as the leaderboard closed up in the third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Lengthy fog delays on Friday and Saturday had interrupted proceedings at Abu Dhabi Golf Club but that did not appear to bother the World Number Three who vaulted himself to ten under.

Sullivan had signed for a second consecutive 67 to set the target and when McIlroy returned to play the final five holes of his second round this morning, he was five shots adrift.

A birdie-eagle finish moved him to within two and into the final group in round three and when he birdied the second, the gap was down to one. Sullivan then dropped a shot on the third to leave 24 players, including World Number One Jordan Spieth, within four shots of the lead.

Both men then birdied the fourth to give themselves a two-shot advantage over Byeong-hun An, Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler, Branden Grace, Thongchai Jaidee, Joost Luiten and Henrik Stenson.

After an opening 66, the Race to Dubai champion had looked distinctly out of sorts in his second round and was one over after a bogey on the ninth as the sun set on day two.

He resumed on the 14th and made a trio of pars, missing a short putt for birdie on the 16th, before he missed by inches from 100 yards on the next and tapped in from two feet for a first gain of his round.

The Northern Irishman, who has four second places in the last five years at this event, then nearly holed his second at the par five last and had another tap-in for eagle.

His excellent approach play continued in round three as he missed a makeable putt on the first but then took advantage of the par five second.

Sullivan made a steady start but when he dropped a shot on the third, his lead had dropped to a share before both of the leading duo put their tee shots on the par three fourth close and made birdie.

Amateur DeChambeau had a bogey and a birdie over four holes with Jaidee the man making the big move at five under through 13 holes.

Grace turned in 32 to fire himself up the leaderboard, with Fowler having made birdies on the second and sixth.

An, Luiten and Stenson were all one under for their third rounds.

Matthew Baldwin, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer and Robert Rock were then at seven under, a shot clear of Spieth who had three birdies on his card.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1FOWLER, RickieUSA18-16
2PIETERS, ThomasBEL18-15
T3STENSON, HenrikSWE18-14
T5SIEM, MarcelGER18-11
T5SPIETH, JordanUSA18-11

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