Jon Rahm (Spain) shot a third round 65 to lead by a shot with a round to go on 15 under par in the $10 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai played over the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
In the 72 hole tournament, 28 year-old Rahm, the two-time winner of the DP World Tour Championship in 2017 and 2019, and winner of the DP World Tour Rankings in 2019, started the round four back of the leaders, but managed seven birdies and no bogeys on a day of many changes at the top of the tournament leaderboard.
Matt Fitzpatrick (Eng) struggled to a 70 not playing his best, out in 37 and a strong back nine of 33 to keep him well in contention. Fellow second round leader Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) shot a level par 72, where he led the field after nine holes, but dropped four shots in six holes from the 10th hole and had to birdie hole 18 to be home in 39.
Alex Noren (Swe) shot a 68, to be solo third on 13 under par, the only player in the 50 strong field to have broken 70 in all three rounds to date, showing the toughness of the course set-up with hitting fairways essential to avoid the challenging rough. The round was played in near perfect weather with hardly a breath of wind for the third day in a row.
Good iron play
Rahm said on completing his round, “I don’t think I could have shot any lower today. Maximised the round. Wasn’t my best off the tee but I was able to actually get some birdies out of some not-so-good situations. I didn’t hit any of the fairways on the par fives and still played them three under par. I’m hoping come tomorrow I can be a little better off the tee, and still keep the good iron play and good putting going. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a demanding golf course. I think the weather forecast is similar to today, which can be a good thing, a tough day. I’ve had some good Sundays out here, so hopefully I can tidy up the mistakes off the tee and have a smooth round like I did today.”
Dubai-based Adrian Meronk (Pol) shot the equal best round of the day, a seven under par 65, including a back nine of 31 to move upto tied 6th on ten under par alongside Tommy Fleetwood (Eng).
In the DP World Tour Rankings, Rory McIlroy (NI) made his move with a round of 65 to be tied fourth in the tournament and if the current standings remain the same after tomorrow (Sunday), it is McIlroy who will take the 2021 – 2022 crown, but as with today, the calculators will be out in force where just one shot either way moves players around the season long ‘live’ Rankings table. McIlroy bogeyed holes one and three, but responded with seven birdies and an eagle on hole two.
The final round tomorrow (Sunday) sees Rahm paired with Fitzpatrick teeing off in the final match of the day and season at 12 noon with Noren and McIlroy off at 11.50 am.
Third Round Leaders (Par 72, 7,706 Yards)
J. Rahm (Spain) 70. 66. 65. 201.
M. Fitzpatrick (Eng) 65. 67. 70. 202.
A. Noren (Swe) 66. 69. 68. 203.
R. McIlroy (NI) 71. 68. 65. 204.
T. Hatton (Eng) 65. 67. 72. 204.
A. Meronk (Pol) 70. 71. 65. 206.
T. Fleetwood (Eng) 68. 70. 68. 206.
Projected DP World Tour Final Rankings with 18 holes to play:
1. R. McIlroy.
2. M. Fitzpatrick.
3. R. Fox.
4. J. Rahm.
5. T. Fleetwood.
6. V. Hovland.
7. A. Meronk.