Andrew Dodt (Getty Images)
Andrew Dodt made spectacular progress early on moving day to claim a share of the lead early in the third round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
With a tightly-packed field at the halfway stage, it was no surprise to see the title race blown wide open – overnight leader Justin Rose’s three-putt bogey at the first creating a six-way tie at the top on seven under par.
Dodt’s start was the most impressive – eight shots off the pace and 36th at the start of the day, the former Avantha Masters winner birdied seven of his first 14 holes.
Michael Campbell’s welcome return to form continued with three birdies in the first five holes as the former US Open Champion from New Zealand joined the leading group, along with Jamie Donaldson Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño and Thorbjørn Olesen, all of whom were level par in the early stages of their rounds.
English pair David Howell and Danny Willett were alongside Dutchman Joost Luiten on six under, with India’s SSP Chowrasia claiming the clubhouse lead a shot further back after a superb seven under par 65.
The 26 year old Dodt, who had birdied four of the first six holes, made it four birdies in a row with another gain at the 15th to take the outright lead.
However, the situation changed again when Dodt, needing to par in for a best-of-the-week 64, bogeyed the 475 yard 16th.
Fernandez-Castaño moved out in front instead when he made a six foot birdie putt on the long second, but Rose, having also pushed his drive into the right-hand rough, had to settle for a five.
Rose hit back with 15 foot birdie putts on the fourth and fifth and at nine under was one ahead again.
Donaldson, Olesen and Fernandez-Castaño were eight under, while Dodt birdied the 567 yard last to set the clubhouse target on seven under. He was round in a joint best-of-the-week 65.
“I was straight out of the blocks,” said Dodt. “Three under through three, four under through nine, and then just rolled a few in on the back nine and it all clicked.
“I got married two weeks ago, I don't know if that's got something to do with it, but I'm sure it has.
“I feel last year was like a second chance, this year I just managed to get my card and this year I feel that I can come out of the blocks running and play well early on, and I managed to do that today.
“I feel pretty good. My game feels good. It all clicked today.”