Shane Lowry is on course to claim his first European Tour title since 2015 as the Offaly man extended his advantage to three shots on day three of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Lowry carded a third round 67 which included seven birdies – with three of them in a row from the sixth hole – along with two bogeys as he reached 17 under par.
Commenting on his round, the Clara-native said:
“I played good. I felt very comfortable out there today and very happy with that. Very excited about tomorrow. Obviously ‘’m in a great position. It’s been a while since I’ve been up having a lead going into Sunday. I’ll enjoy it. Have a nice dinner tonight and get ready tomorrow and give it my best tomorrow and see what happens.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s final round, 31-year-old Lowry admitted he wouldn’t take anything for granted, adding:
“I’m not going to say I feel invincible because we all know that this game is not easy, and it can jump up and bite you when you least expect it. I’m just trying to go out and do what I’ve been doing. I’ve been hitting some lovely iron shots. It just so happens that I’ve hit them on the par threes and holed a few putts. It just shows when I get myself in position, I can give myself chances and that’s kind of what I need to do. I think I just need to go out and stay aggressive and just play my own game and try and make as many birdies as I can. That’s the way I play golf. If I can do that, hopefully I can be up there at the end of the day and give myself a chance coming down the last few.”
South African Richard Sterne, who has not won a tournament since the Joburg Open in 2013 is the Irish golfer’s nearest challenger on 14 under having signed for a third-round 69.
Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter finished his round with an eagle to head into the final day in third place on 12 under, one shot ahead of 2014 Champion Pablo Larrazábal, with Belgian Thomas Pieters, Dane Søren Kjeldsen, and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson a further shot off the pace.
Lowry’s fellow Irishman, Paul Dunne, carded a third round 70 for a three-round total of 146, and lies well off the pace.
Round Three Leading Scores
199 S Lowry (Irl) 62 70 67,
202 R Sterne (RSA) 65 68 69,
204 I Poulter (Eng) 66 69 69,
205 P Larrazábal (Esp) 65 72 68,
206 M Kieffer (Ger) 68 71 67, S Kjeldsen (Den) 66 69 71, S Jamieson (Sco) 69 66 71, T Pieters (Bel) 67 70 69.