Sunday, 24 January 2016
Rickie Fowler  (Getty Images)
Rickie Fowler (Getty Images)

Rickie Fowler left the rest of the field in no doubt of the task they faced in trying to catch him as he made a brilliant start to the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

The World Number Six had started the day in a share of the lead when players returned to complete their third rounds at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and three birdies in the morning gave him a two-shot 54-hole lead over Joost Luiten.

Ian Poulter birdied the first, second and fourth to move himself to 12 under when the fourth round began but Fowler made a birdie-birdie start of his own to open up a three-shot advantage after three holes.

Branden Grace and Luiten were a shot behind Poulter with Byeong-hun An, Matthew Baldwin, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Alejandro Cañizares, Rory McIlroy, Thomas Pieters and Henrik Stenson all at ten under.

Stenson made a positive start as he rolled in a 20-footer on the first for birdie and Poulter, playing in the group behind, also made a gain on the par four as both men moved to ten under.

McIlroy put his tee shot on the first in the bunker and when his second over the back was followed by a poor chip, he signed for a bogey with Peter Hanson dropping to seven under with a double.

Cabrera-Bello got to ten under as he took advantage of the par five second but that got him no nearer the lead as Fowler drained a 15-footer on the first to get to 14 under and extend his advantage to three.

Poulter made it a birdie-birdie start after an excellent pitch to get into a share of second and Grace joined him there with a gain on the second after nearly holing a bunker shot.

But Fowler had a birdie-birdie start of his own as he made another 15-foot effort on the second to extend his lead to four and things were looking ominous for the rest of the field.

Poulter looked determined to keep pace, however, and after parring the third he holed a lengthy birdie putt on the next to get to 12 under while McIlroy got back to double figures from similar range.

Cañizares had moved up the leaderboard with birdies on the second and fifth.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1FOWLER, RickieUSA18-16
2PIETERS, ThomasBEL18-15
T3STENSON, HenrikSWE18-14
T3MCILROY, RoryNIR18-14
T5SIEM, MarcelGER18-11
T5SPIETH, JordanUSA18-11

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