Rory McIlroy will take a one shot lead in to the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
The four-time Major winner recorded a five under par round of 67 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club today to get to 13 under par. The Irish golfer has now reclaimed the lead he relinquished to Ryder Cup team mate Tyrrell Hatton at the conclusion of the second round.
Having shot a sparkling 64 to top the leaderboard in the opening event of the 2021 season, McIlroy needed a birdie on Saturday morning to sign for a level par 72 as the delayed second round was completed. He found himself three shots off the lead after 36 holes.
McIlroy roared back to come within touching distance of a first win at an event where he has been runner up four times. Today’s round included an eagle and five birdies to move one shot clear of three-time Rolex Series winner Hatton. Dual Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship winner Tommy Fleetwood is a shot further back.
American David Lipsky and Scot Marc Warren are at ten under par after a pair of 68s, one shot ahead of Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello, with Australia’s Jason Scrivener at eight under.
Frenchman Alex Levy holed his tee shot from 163 yards with a nine iron at the par three 15th hole at Abu Dhabi Golf Club to win a BMW M850I Coupe.
“Today was a little better,” McIlroy admitted. “It’s so blustery and it’s a different type of golf than we’re used to playing here in Abu Dhabi. You feel like you have a chance on every hole. There’s like a little more scrambling involved and longer putts.
“I thought I did well today. Obviously had that big stroke of luck on ten, the ball hitting the pin and going in. Apart from that, I played well. I drove it much better on the back nine and hit it much better on the back nine. I was really encouraged with that.
“I can’t go into tomorrow thinking it’s my turn. I want to make it my turn. I have to go out there and continue to hit the ball like I hit it on the back nine tonight. If I can do that and give myself plenty of chances, I’ll have a real chance.”
Round three scores
203 R MCILROY 64 72 67,
204 T HATTON (ENG) 65 68 71,
205 T FLEETWOOD (ENG) 71 67 67,
206 M WARREN (SCO) 72 66 68, D LIPSKY (USA) 72 66 68,
207 R CABRERA BELLO (ESP) 67 67 73,
208 J SCRIVENER (AUS) 67 70 71,
209 C BEZUIDENHOUT (RSA) 71 71 67, M LORENZO-VERA (FRA) 69 72 68, G COETZEE (RSA) 70 71 68, C PAISLEY (ENG) 72 68 69, W ORMSBY (AUS) 69 70 70, M KORHONEN (FIN) 69 69 71, M WALLACE (ENG) 68 70 71, F ZANOTTI (PAR) 66 71 72,
Other select scores
217 L WESTWOOD (ENG) 69 73 75, H STENSON (SWE) 71 72 74, S HEND (AUS) 71 72 74,
218 J HARDING (RSA) 73 69 76, P HARRINGTON 70 73 75,
219 S SODERBERG (SWE) 69 71 79, J WINTHER (DEN) 74 69 76.