Rolex Series

Day three digest: 2021 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Everything you need to know from day three at the first event of the 2021 Race to Dubai.

McIlroy and Hatton

Rory bounced back, Rafa got off to a flier, Alex made an ace, Bez..errrrr..didn't, and the help helped on day three of the 2021 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Here is everything you need to know from Saturday at the first Rolex Series event of 2021.

Rory taking nothing for granted

By most measures, Rory McIlroy was the favourite coming into this week. The second highest ranked player in the field has been a runner up at this event four times with three further thirds and just one finish outside the top 11 in ten previous appearances. The only event McIlroy has played more times without winning is the Masters Tournament. Add that to the desire to claim a first Rolex Series win and everything pointed towards the four time Major Championship winner. An opening 64 was a perfect start but a second round 72 meant he was three shots off the lead. A 67 in round three has put McIlroy back in the box seat by one shot but the Northern Irishman is taking nothing for granted. "I can't go into tomorrow thinking it's my turn," he said when asked about his record in Abu Dhabi. "I want to make it my turn. I have to go out there and continue to hit the ball like I hit it on the back nine tonight. If I can do that and give myself plenty of chances, I'll have a real chance."

Rafa's glorious morning

Rafa Cabrera Bello is a Rolex Series winner from the 2017 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open but he has also been a picture of consistency in his last few Rolex Series events, as these numbers show.

He put himself in a good position to continue that run with a sparkling finish to his second round. With eight holes left to play at 7.30am, the Spaniard made birdies on the 11th, 14th, 15th and 17th to catapult himself up the leaderboard and get into the final group in round three. He will head into the fourth round four off the lead. Vamos Rafa!

Bez's BMW heartbreak

A hole-in-one is a pretty special achievement but it would feel all the more special if it won you a BMW 850i. So to miss out on both by this amount? That's gotta sting Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

But it's lucky for Levy........

Less than an hour later it was Alexander Levy on the 15th tee and it seemed when the ball was in the air he didn't think it was going to make the hole. How wrong he was as he saw his nine iron from 163 yards take one big bounce, a couple of little ones and find the bottom of the cup to send him home with the €82,552 car. And in true Alex Levy style, the celebration was a sight to see. Life is never dull when Alex is around.

Tyrrell sticking to the programme

Our Angry Golfers session has been getting some attention in the Twitterverse and beyond and Tyrrell Hatton appears to be taking Tommy Fleetwood's advice to heart. How do you react to a nasty lip out? "When you're feeling glum, pop up your thumb."

He was doing it on Thursday, too.

So is Matt.......

Matt Wallace is another one of Tommy's followers.

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