Saturday, November 17, 2018

Willett and Reed share lead with one round to 

go at DP World Championship in Dubai
Danny Willett and Patrick Reed share the lead heading into the final round of the 2018 European Tour season as the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai was set for a dramatic finish at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Reigning Masters Tournament Champion Reed made four birdies in six holes on the back nine to sign for a 67 and set the target at 14 under, with Willett making three in a row from the 14th to join him with a 68 at the eighth Rolex Series event of the season.

England's Jordan Smith produced a big finish of his own to get to 13 under, one shot clear of countrymen Matt Wallace and Lee Westwood, and South African Dean Burmester.

In the battle to win the Race to Dubai, Francesco Molinari was on course to take the title, with closest rival Tommy Fleetwood eight shots off the lead and needing a win.

Reed is looking for his first victory since he donned the Green Jacket in April, while Willett's last win also came at Augusta National in 2016.

“I feel good,” said Reed. “I feel like the consistency of my game is where it needs to be. To have a chance to go out and finish the year off right and win a golf tournament, give myself a little early Christmas gift, a trophy, would be amazing.”

Wallace entered the day with a one-shot lead and when he holed a 15-footer on the first, got on the green at the par-five second in two and played a brilliant bunker shot on the third, he made a three-birdie start and led by three.

A double-bogey on the eighth stalled his progress, however, and the day developed into a battle between Reed and Willett in the later stages.

Reed sandwiched a bogey on the fourth with birdies on the two par fives on the front nine before a 15-footer on the 11th had him one off the lead.

A wonderful 25-foot left-to-righter on the 13th green put the American in a six-way tie for the lead and an excellent chip on the next set up another birdie. A 15-footer on the 16th handed him a two-shot advantage but Willett soon set about reeling him in.

The 31 year old holed a six-footer on the fifth and made the most of the seventh but when he got in tree trouble off the tee at the 12th, he did not look likely to challenge.

The Englishman bounced back on the par-five 14th, however, before putting an approach to five feet on the next and holing a 20-foot left-to-righter on the 16thg

“There's a lot of golf left,” said Willett. “A lot can happen in 18 holes.

“I'm just happy with the golf game. The golf game is in good shape, the body is feeling good and it's been a long old year with all the stuff that's gone on. For this to be the last event I'm going to play in this year with a field this good is a real bonus.

Smith joined the lead after birdies on the second and eighth on a front nine that saw him also birdie the seventh but bogey the sixth and ninth. He dropped a shot on the 13th but bounced back with two birdies before a lovely chip on the last set up a closing gain.

Wallace slipped back to level par on the day with a birdie on the 13th but he hit back on the next in a 71.

Full of confidence after last week's stunning victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Westwood got off to a flier, with a long putt from off the green on the first and brilliant iron play on the second and third bringing three birdies. A 12-footer on the fifth handed him another gain and he sandwiched birdies on the 11th and 14th with a tee-shot to tap-in range at the par-three 13th.

Burmester only played his way into the field last week but finished fourth here last season and carded six birdies and two bogeys on Saturday in a 68.

Spaniard Adrian Otaegui was a picture of consistency until recording a closing bogey in a 71 to sit at 11 under alongside England's Tom Lewis, who carded a 67.

Shubhankar Sharma tightened his grip on the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award with a 66 that left him in a heavyweight group alongside reigning champion Jon Rahm and Major winners Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson at ten under.


Player quotes
Danny Willett: “It would be nice to win tomorrow but there's a lot of golf left. A lot can happen in 18 holes. I'm just happy with the golf game. It's in good shape. The body is feeling good, and, like I've said, it's been a long old year with all the stuff that's gone on and for this to be the last event I'm going to play in this year with a field this good is a real bonus. Going to go out and try and play some good golf tomorrow.

I think even if we weren't in contention, just the way that we've worked and practiced these last three, four months and what I've taken from the range to the golf course and now it's just each week, it's felt a little bit better.

“The result might not have come but everything's been feeling good, and I appreciate this game at times is a little bit tricky when you're not getting results and you feel like things are good and you feel like you're knocking your head against the wall. It's nice to be in this position and nice to be in this position feeling comfortable is more important. It’s fun again.”

Patrick Reed
: “It was steady. I didn't quite have the warm up that I wanted to kind of start the day and get going, but once I got on the golf course, things all seemed to settle out. Even though I was only even par through four, I felt like I really didn't miss a golf shot at that point. You know, it was a tough flag and awkward number for me on four there, which caused me to put it in the wrong spot and have a three-putt for bogey there. But after that, I just kept on playing well. Kept on hitting the golf ball how I was hitting it all day and just kept allowing the putter to do its work.

I feel good. I feel like the consistency of my game is where it needs to be. You're always going to have hot flashes here and there and you're always going to have kind of low points. I feel like my low points are getting better, and they are more manageable and I can miss the golf ball where I need to miss the golf ball.
“It would mean a lot to win this tournament. Just to be in the situation to be able to come over here and play, with the limited schedule that I play over here on The European Tour, and to have a chance to go out and finish the year off right and win a golf tournament, give myself a little early Christmas gift of a trophy, would be amazing.”
Jordan Smith: “It was nice to make some birdeis in the last few holes and get some momentum.  I will definitely go into tomorrow with a lot of confidence and kind of looking forward to it. I don't think I'll go in with any expectations. Just going to go enjoy it. Whatever happens, happens. Yeah, I'm just not going to put pressure on myself.

Lee Westwood: “I played great. I got off to a quick start, which I wanted to. I was four under through five. And I gave myself a lot of chances. Could have been out in 7-under quite easily. Just kept plugging away. I'm hitting the ball well and getting it close a lot, so the key is really patience and not getting frustrated when I was hitting good putts and they weren't going in.

“I just think experience is valuable, whatever you're doing. Whenever you've been in a situation before, it's got to help. I'm just pleased I shot 65 and got myself in there and closer to the leaders, with the conditions as they are and if the wind stays up, then they may not get too far away from front of me, but I was five under and the lead was 11, so I was six behind and now I’m going to be a couple back. It's a big improvement and gives me a chance tomorrow.”

Francesco Molinari
: “Just another wasted opportunity to be honest but you know, it is what it is. This time of the year, I think I'm trying my best but there's not a lot in there left. So yeah, a shame, I'm playing well. I'm putting well, but I'm just dropping shots for fun. So it is what it is. One more round, and we'll see what I can do tomorrow.

It's something new I've never really experienced this like this and I kind of tried to convince myself that I'm feeling better week-after-week, but then a round of golf and I'm back where I started. I think on Thursday, there was a little bit of adrenaline going and that helped me, definitely, to start with, but at the moment it's just hard to keep the focus or 18 holes. So as I said, it is what it is. Tomorrow, I feel there's a low one this there because I'm hitting the ball well and I'm putting well enough; it's just a matter of doing it for 18 holes.”

Tommy Fleetwood: “I feel the adrenaline might have gone now. I think you kind of know when your time's up. I lasted within two days of the season. Like I've said, it was a stretch trying to win it. But it is what it is. I'll play tomorrow and we'll see how we do, but it's fine. I'm fine. Fit and healthy. I'll play golf tomorrow and that's it. I'll go home and I'll spend time with my son tonight. At the end of the day, it's just golf, but it does hurt when you have days like that.”

Round three scores
par 216 (3x72)
202 P Reed (USA) 69 66 67, D Willett  (Eng) 67 67 68
203 J Smith (Eng) 66 68 69204 D Burmester (SAf) 71 65 68, M Wallace (Eng) 68 65 71, L Westwood (Eng) 70 69 65,205 T Lewis (Eng) 69 69 67, A Otaegui  (Spn) 66 68 71206 J Rahm  (Spn) 67 70 69, S Sharma (India) 73 67 66, S Garcia  (Spain) 71 68 67, H Stenson (Swe) 71 66 69207 A Björk (Swe) 72 65 70, A Noren  (Swe) 69 71 67, R McIlroy  (NIre) 69 67 71, K Aphibarnrat (Thailand) 70 66 71208 A Pavan (Ita) 69 69 70, T Hatton (Eng) 71 72 65, A Sullivan (Eng) 72 67 69,209 W Ormsby (Australia) 69 72 68, D Frittelli (SAf) 70 73 66, T Detry  (Belgium) 70 70 69, R Cabrera Bello (Spain) 69 69 71210 M Kinhult (Swe) 69 71 70, T Pieters  (Belgium) 68 70 72, T Fleetwood  (Eng) 69 67 74, H Li  (Chn) 68 73 69211 E Van Rooyen (SAf) 71 71 69, S Lowry  (Irl) 70 72 69, C Paisley  (Eng) 71 71 69, F Molinari (Ita) 68 73 70212 J Luiten (Netherlands) 69 73 70, S Horsfield (Eng) 73 67 72, H Tanihara (Jpn) 69 71 72, M Southgate  (Eng) 71 69 72, M Korhonen (Finland) 69 74 69, X Schauffele (USA) 71 71 70213 R Fisher (Eng) 68 73 72, L Bjerregaard  (Denmark) 76 71 66, A Wu (Chn) 72 74 67214 R Knox (Sco) 73 68 73215 L Slattery (Eng) 72 70 73, B Grace  (SAf) 71 75 69216 P Dunne (Ire) 72 69 75, A Levy (Fra) 72 72 72, M Lorenzo-Vera  (Fra) 70 72 74, R Fox (NZ) 74 74 68, T Olesen (Denmark) 71 73 72, M Fitzpatrick  (Eng) 74 72 70217 A Rai (Eng) 73 75 69218 D Fichardt (SAf) 74 71 73, L Herbert (Australia) 74 70 74219 R Rock (Eng) 71 73 75220 J Lagergren (Swe) 76 79 65
221 M Kaymer (Ger) 72 75 74,222 J Campillo (Spain) 74 74 74, I Poulter (Eng) 72 74 76, C Wood  (Eng) 73 76 73, B Stone (SAf) 74 76 72,** E Pepperell (Eng) 75 retired 



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