England’s Andy Sullivan stayed ahead of the chasing pack at the Golf in Dubai Championship yesterday with a steady third round of 68 at the Jumeirah Golf Estates for a two-shot lead over compatriot Matt Wallace heading into the final day.
Sullivan began the round ahead by three strokes and landed three birdies on the front nine after the start of the day’s play was delayed by 45 minutes due to fog.
The English Open champion shook off the disappointment of a bogey immediately after the turn to secure further gains on the 16th and 17th holes to go 21-under for the tournament.
“I started off really nicely... played really solid. From 10 through to 14 I didn’t swing it that great, didn’t give myself that many chances but found good swings coming in,” Sullivan, who is chasing a fifth title on the European Tour, said.
“There’s a lot of golf to be played and a lot of birdies going to be made tomorrow. I’ve just got to go out there and play as good as I can.”
Wallace rolled in six birdies to stay in contention at 19-under overall following a round of 67. Fellow Englishman Ross Fisher was tied-third alongside Italian Renato Paratore a shot further back.
“I felt a bit nervous (today) if I’m honest,” Wallace said.
“Not at the start but a few tee shots didn’t feel as comfortable and I didn’t strike it as well. But I told myself to let it go and struck it better coming in.
“... I’m going to have loads of chances. I’m two behind a Ryder Cup (2016) player, someone who’s playing really well and I’m going to have to go really low tomorrow.”
Knox leads by one stroke in Mexico
Scotland’s Russell Knox fired a 30 on his front nine en route to a six-under 65 to seize a first round lead at the USPGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic on Thursday in Mexico.
Knox, who started on the 10th tee, birdied five of his final six holes on his opening nine then added two more birdies on his back nine to take a one stroke lead over three others. His only blemish was a bogey on the par-four second hole.
“Took me a few holes to kind of settle into my round, but when I did, I had six or seven very good holes,” Knox said. “I hit the ball well, drove it in the fairway, and with lift, clean and place, I could be fairly aggressive. Par was good today.”
Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, Emiliano Grillo of Argentina and American Tom Hoge were a stroke back at 66 in the final event of the PGA Tour’s 2020 season at the Playa del Carmen course.
Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka is six strokes back of Knox after shooting a 71.
Pre-tournament favourite and the only top 10 ranked player in the field, Justin Thomas, shot 72. Thomas, who has two wins in 2020, is coming off a fourth place finish at the Masters and has five straight top-15 finishes.
Another stroke behind is Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who is playing in his first event since testing positive for Covid-19 on November 11. Kiradech had three birdies but made a double bogey on the par-four third hole.
Donaldson in share of lead with Bezuidenhout
Veteran Welshman Jamie Donaldson stormed through the course at Sun City yesterday, sinking 10 birdies in a round of 63 to share the lead with Christiaan Bezuidenhout at the halfway mark of the South African Open.
They were on a 10-under-par total of 134 after two rounds with a two-shot lead over the field.
The 45-year-old Donaldson, who started the day one-under-par, could even afford a dropped shot in his blistering round as he came within one shot of Lee Westwood’s course record at the Gary Player Country Club.
Bezuidenhout missed a short putt on the 18th for a birdie that would have given him a one-shot lead as he seeks a second successive European Tour title after winning last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship.
The 26-year-old South African, however, still made no errors in his round of 67.
Home players Dean Burmester and Dylan Frittelli were eight-under-par in joint third.
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