Fowler takes lead in Abu Dhabi

 24 Jan 2016 - 12:29

Fowler takes lead in Abu Dhabi
USA's Rickie Fowler hits his eagle putt at the 18th hole during the third round. (Reuters / Paul Childs)

 

Abu Dhabi: World number six Rickie Fowler added three birdies in the six holes he played to complete his third round of the $2.7 million Abu Dhabi Golf Championship on Sunday and moved on to the top of the leaderboard at 13-under par.

The third round could not be completed on Saturday after a delayed start due to morning fog, and Fowler had to return to the golf course early on Sunday.

But he was off to a fast start, making a putt of 50 feet for birdie on the 13th, and then added two more on the 16th and 18th holes.

Fowler was two ahead of Joost Luiten (68), who closed with a stretch of birdie-birdie-par-eagle to finish on 11-under par. That looked unlikely at one stage when the Dutchman had made a double bogey on the 12th hole, followed by a bogey on the 14th.

A group of five players were tied at 10-under par, including world number three Rory McIlroy (70), and Belgium's Thomas Pieters, who submitted the best card of the third round - an eight-under par 64. Others at 10 under were South African Branden Grace (66), England's Matthew Baldwin (67) and Korean Byeong-hun An (69).

World number five Henrik Stenson (70) was tied for eighth place at nine-under par, along with England's Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter (68), Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Sweden's Peter Hanson.

Fowler, who was bogey-free for his round, was delighted to get into contention.

"Definitely pleased. Nice to move up and get myself in a good position to win this afternoon. Still got a lot of work to do, but the game feels good and excited for the challenge ahead," said the 27-year-old Californian, who is playing in Abu Dhabi for the second time.

"I definitely feel a lot more comfortable this year on the golf course than last year. Confident with where the game is at.

"I will stick to the game plan and play the course how we've been playing it. Yeah, I'm going to have to earn this win because there are a lot of guys at the top of the leaderboard right now and it won't be easy."

World number one Jordan Spieth managed to finish his third round on Saturday and is on seven-under par, six shots behind leader Fowler.

AFP