Dubai: Zander Lombard (RSA) shot a third round 63 to take a one shot lead on 16 under par after 54 holes in the $2 million Ras Al Khaimah Championship at Al Hamra Golf Club, Ras Al Khaimah on the DP World Tour.
28 year-old Lombard, placed 333 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) set the Peter Harradine designed golf course alight with six birdies in his opening eight holes to be out in 30.
Further birdies on holes 12, 17 and 18, with no bogeys, saw him hand in the equal best scorecard of the week, a nine under par round, three shots better than any other player in the 71 player field and one shot shy of the course record.
Lombard was thrilled with his day’s work, saying on completing his round, “It feels good, I did a lot of things really well. Kept it steady, kept it solid, managed to hole a few putts and get some good momentum going for nine under par. You don’t shoot that every day."
He added, "It felt solid straight out of the blocks, starting birdie-par-birdie. I just kept the mistakes off the card, that’s the key to a good round. I was actually quite upset because I missed a four-footer on five to be seven under (through eight holes). I kept fighting and used it as motivation to keep going and keep hitting good shots. I almost walked off with ten under but I would definitely take the round today. I have been rusty over the past few weeks, starting in Abu Dhabi and then Dubai. The new golf ball and figuring things out again at the start of the season is always tricky. I found something in Dubai, played really nicely. I think I hit 15 and 14 greens in the first two days to be three over par, so there was a lot of good happening, just not scoring. I’m definitely scoring this week. I’ve knocked on a lot of doors so it would be good to get over the line (for a win), but we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Race to Dubai Rankings
A win for Lombard tomorrow (Sunday) would lift him to a projected seventh in the 2022 – 2023 Race to Dubai Rankings.
In second place is Rasmus Hojgaard (Den) who shot a 68, despite a water ball on hole 18, where he recovered to make a par five. He is looking for his fourth career victory on the DP World Tour.
There are plenty of quality players in contention with 18 holes to play in this the ninth tournament of the 2022 – 2023 DP World Tour season.
Amongst the locally based players: Spaniard Adri Arnaus, is tied seventh on 11 under par after a round three 67, Thorbjorn Oleson (Den) is a shot worse in 11th after a 66 and Rafa Cabrera Bello (Spain) is tied 13th with a 70. Second round co-leader Adrian Meronk (Pol) slipped 17 places with a third round 75, 10 shots worse than his second round.
The final round will take place tomorrow (Sunday) in two balls with Lombard paired with Rasmus Hojgaard teeing off at 12.40 pm.
Round Three Leaders (Par 72, 7,400 yards)
Z. Lombard (RSA) 69. 68. 63. 200.
R. Hojgaard (Den) 66. 67. 68. 201.
D. Gavins (Eng) 68. 66. 68. 202.
M. Pavon (Fr) 71. 65. 67. 203.
N. Hojgaard (Den) 71. 66. 67. 204.
A. Bjork (Swe) 67. 69. 68. 204.