Saturday, 04 February 2017
Day 3 Highlights - Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Sergio Garcia will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic but he will have Open champion Henrik Stenson breathing down his neck at Emirates Golf Club.

On a day of catch up in the UAE following Friday's wind delays, Garcia birdied his 31st hole of the day in darkness to move to 16 under as he goes in search of a first European Tour title since the 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

Stenson also played 31 holes in completing rounds of 68-67 to get to 13 under, two shots clear of Prom Meesawat and Ian Poulter.

Garcia and Stenson have been two of the biggest stars of the European Tour over the last 20 years and will both be looking for their 12th title on Sunday afternoon.

That would match the mark of Poulter, who birdied three of his last four holes to set up a thrilling final day of the Desert Swing.

Garcia entered round three with a three-shot lead after signing for a 67 in the morning as he completed the second round.

His lead was cut to two straight away as he found a bunker with his second shot on the first and, despite playing a lovely shot from the sand, he could not make his par putt.

The 37 year old bounced back with a birdie on the second and while he parred his way to the turn, it was not without incident.

He played another excellent bunker shot on the third but again could not take advantage, missed a short birdie attempt on the fifth, played another beautiful bunker shot on the sixth and made par from 20 feet on the seventh after just avoiding the water.

Stenson had birdied the fifth but he gave the shot back on the next before stiffing his approach to the eighth and when he took advantage of the par five tenth, he was two off the lead.

I have a chance of winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic which is a great event. I'm going to give it my all tomorrow - Sergio Garcia

Garcia also took advantage of the tenth and moved four ahead when he put his tee-shot on the 11th to ten feet but Stenson was not going away.

The Swede took advantage of the par five 13th, a trick repeated by Garcia, and then made an excellent up-and-down to save par before putting his tee-shot on the 15th to six feet for a birdie.

A three-putt from Garcia on the same hole then cut the gap to two but he drove the 17th to regain the stroke before both men birdied the last in almost pitch darkness for a remarkable finish.

"At the end it was very, very dark, I'll tell you that," said Garcia. "When we were walking on 17, I thought, well, it will probably be a little dark but not too bad.

"But then it gets dark very, very quickly here. I couldn't really see much on the last three shots. I pretty much couldn't see the ball land and the last putt was a little bit of a feel and a little bit of the read that George gave me and I'm very fortunate to be able to make it.

"It wasn't easy, a little shaky here and there at the beginning but the back nine was great. A lot of good shots, a lot of good putts.

"I have a chance of winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic which is a great event. I'm going to give it my all tomorrow."

Englishman Poulter was bogey-free in his 67, picking up birdies on the second and tenth to go with his closing flourish on the 15th, 17th and 18th.

Meesawat played 34 bogey-free holes on Saturday after starting round two with two bogeys, the Thai completing a pair of 68s with a birdie-birdie finish in round three.

South African George Coetzee and American Peter Uihlein also both made birdie-birdie finishes to get to ten under in third rounds of 70 and 69 respectively.

Tyrrell Hatton was then at nine under after a brilliant 65 that was the low round of the day, alongside Nacho Elvira, Raphaël Jacquelin and Chris Paisley.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1GARCIA, SergioESP18-19
2STENSON, HenrikSWE18-16
T3JENSEN, LasseDEN18-14
T3HATTON, TyrrellENG18-14
T5UIHLEIN, PeterUSA18-12

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