World Numbers One and Two Share Lead In Dubai
It’s only fitting that the last day of the European Tour season will feature the World’s number one and number two golfers in the final pairing, and playing for all of the marbles on Sunday afternoon. Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald both drained birdie putts at the par 5 18th hole to shoot matching -6 under par 66′s, and will be paired for the finale at The DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
Playing in the next to last group on Saturday at the Jumeriah Golf Estate, Luke Donald shot his third consecutive bogey free round and posted a -17 under par total as Rory was coming up the fairway. Rory pulled his drive to the left, and laid up to sand wedge distance. He dropped his approach shot to 8 feet, and grabbed a share of the lead with his fifth birdie of the day.
Unlike Donald however, McIlroy dropped a shot at the first hole, but an eagle three at the par five 14th hole got him back on track. At almost 7600 yards, one would think that McIlroy, at over 300 yards on an average off of the tee would have a decidedly large advantage over Donald, who averages just under 290 yards with his driver, but the 35 year old from Wycombe, England just doesn’t make mistakes. He is one of the finest I’ve seen around the greens, and handles the flat stick with laser precision.
South African buddies, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel were matched together on Saturday and both will continue on Sunday. The pair are three strokes off the pace at -14 under par, and on a day when neither could seem to make a putt, are two strokes clear of the pack. Schwartzel shot a -5 under 67, and Oosthuizen a -4 under 68.
The 2010 British Open Champ looked to have his putter warmed up on the front nine, with three birdies in a row to make the turn, but cooled on the back where he only got one at 11th hole. He had some opportunities, but just couldn’t seem to convert. The 2011 Masters Champ carded an eagle at the seventh hole only to immediately give a stroke back at eight, and then, another at ten.
Marc Warren, who had a piece of the second round lead, and playing with McIlroy disappeared from the leader-board with an even par effort on Saturday. Warren was two over at the turn, with bogeys at second and ninth holes. He got one back at ten, but gave it back with bogey at 12. A couple of birdies at 16 and 17 would ease the pain a little, but he dropped off the leader-board, and into a tie for 7th place at -11 under par.
Some new names who moved up in the third round are Romain Wattel from France and George Coetzee from South Africa. The pair shot 67′s on the day, and moved up 16 positions to join the major log jam that is tied for 7th place. Wattel has only one victory on the Challenge Tour, he is 168th in World Rankings, and 53rd in Race To Dubai points.
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