Friday, 29 January 2016
Paul Lawrie  (Getty Images)
Paul Lawrie (Getty Images)

Paul Lawrie made nine straight pars as he maintained his one-shot lead midway through the third round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

The 1999 and 2012 champion is aiming to become the first man to win the Mother of Pearl Trophy three times and he once again showed his skill in the wind as scoring proved difficult at Doha Golf Club.

His unblemished front nine kept him at 11 under, one shot clear of Andrew Johnston who turned in 35, and two ahead of Nicolas Colsaerts, Thorbjørn Olesen and Lee Slattery.

The par five first brought a shower of birdies with Sergio Garcia, Olesen and Johnston all moving a shot closer to Lawrie before the final group got started.

When they did, it was Colsaerts who took advantage, making a birdie to go four under for that hole on the week, nine under on the par fives and 11 under in total to join the Scot at the top of the leaderboard.

He was not there for long, though, as the big-hitting Belgian bogeyed the second to drop back to ten under before he recovered with another gain.

Johnston and Olesen both slipped up on the fifth to drop further from the lead while the leading duo both secured pars on the fourth and fifth to maintain their advantage.

Garcia and Johnston were in the group at nine under and they were joined by Slattery who turned in 33 thanks to birdies on the first, second and ninth.

Johnston picked a stroke straight back up on the sixth courtesy of a wonderful approach but Garcia headed in the other direction when he missed a short putt ahead on the seventh.

The Spaniard missed another short one on the next as he three-putted the par three but Slattery was flying and he put his approach on the tenth close to get to ten under.

He was joined there by Colsaerts who found trouble off the tee on the sixth to put Lawrie back out in front on his own, while Olesen got back to nine under after an excellent tee shot on the eighth.

Slattery made his first mistake of the day on the 11th as he three-putted to drop back to nine under and when Colsaerts let one go on the par five ninth, Johnston was all alone in second.

Richard Bland set the clubhouse target at eight under with a very impressive 67 in the windy conditions.

He birdied the fourth and fifth but dropped a shot on the seventh before birdieing the ninth to turn in 33. He picked a shot up on the 13th and then had a birdie-birdie finish as he seeks a first European Tour win in his 376th event.

Defending champion Branden Grace was also at eight under with a gain on the first his only one through ten holes, alongside Tommy Fleetwood and Johan Carlsson, who were level par for their rounds, and Rafa Cabrera-Bello, who was one over for the day.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1GRACE, BrandenRSA18-14
T2CABRERA-BELLO, RafaESP18-12
T2OLESEN, ThorbjørnDEN18-12
T4DREDGE, BradleyWAL18-11
T4JOHNSTON, AndrewENG18-11
T4SLATTERY, LeeENG18-11

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