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Tommy Fleetwood leads Rory McIlroy by one after shooting third-round 63

January 13th, 2024

Tommy Fleetwood did not drop any shots in a superb third-round 63

Dubai Invitational third-round leaderboard

-15 T Fleetwood (Eng); -14 R McIlroy (NI); -12 T Olesen (Den); -11 Z Lombard (SA), T Lawrence (SA), J Smith (Eng); -10 S Crocker (US), Y Paul (Ger), R Hoejgaard (Den)

Selected: -8 A Meronk (Pol); -7 E Ferguson (Sco); -6 L Donald (Eng), T McKibbin (NI), N Hoejgaard (Den); -5 R Fox (NZ)

Full leaderboard

England’s Tommy Fleetwood leads Rory McIlroy by one shot after firing an eight-under-par 63 in the third round of the Dubai Invitational on Saturday.

World number 15 Fleetwood carded eight birdies in a bogey-free round to move top of the leaderboard on 15 under.

McIlroy, who led by two after both of the opening rounds, posted five birdies and one bogey in his 67 on day three.

Dane Thorbjoern Olesen is three off the lead, with Zander Lombard, Thriston Lawrence and Jordan Smith on 11 under.

Fleetwood picked up four shots on his front nine at the first, third, fourth and sixth holes and followed that up with birdies on 10, 12, 13 and 14 on the back nine.

The European Ryder Cup player goes into the final round of a 72-hole DP World Tour event in the lead for the first time since 2014.

“I played very well, got off to the perfect start and was able to build some momentum,” the English golfer told Sky Sports after his round.

“I read the greens well, got that confidence going, that rhythm and that flow. You pick up that confidence when you start holing a few putts.”

Rory McIlroyRory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy will defend his Dubai Desert Classic title next week

Fleetwood trailed McIlroy by three shots ahead of the third round at the Dubai Creek Resort, the Northern Irishman having set the halfway benchmark on 10 under despite recording a quadruple bogey seven at the par-three eighth on Friday.

Four-time major winner McIlroy registered a birdie at the fourth on Saturday, but gave a shot back at the fifth with a bogey.

Further birdies at the 11th, 12th, 13th and 16th saw him maintain his challenge and set up a final day pairing with Fleetwood.

“I’m definitely well in it. I felt I did ok, had a bit of a slow start, but got things going on the back nine to try and keep up with Tommy,” commented McIlroy on Sky Sports.

“I played well on the back nine and I’m looking forward to Sunday, the buzz and the pressure of trying to win a golf tournament.

“I feel I’ve been playing pretty well, so I just need one more good day.”

The event consists of 60 professionals and 60 amateurs, with only the professionals playing the final 18 holes.

World number two McIlroy, who is playing for the first time since November, will remain in the Middle East next week to defend his Dubai Desert Classic title.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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