Dubai: It was a late-evening traffic jam at the DP World Tour Championship as Patrick Reed, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Laurie Canter emerged from the pack at Jumeirah Golf Estates with a slender one-stroke lead going into the final round on the Earth Course with the Race to Dubai title in the balance.
The European Tour’s season-ending competition set for a thrilling final-round battle with Race to Dubai leader Reed, former champion Fitzpatrick and fellow countryman Canter leading the way.
Reed, who is looking to become the first American to win the Race to Dubai, showed his superb short game throughout the day as he made a number of saves to post a one under 71. The best of those came during the final stretch with the 30 year old brilliantly holing out from the bunker on 15 for birdie before saving par on the 17th with a delightful chip to within a foot of the pin after narrowly avoiding the water.
The 2018 Masters Tournament champion ensured he would remain in a share of the lead in the final Rolex Series event of the season with a birdie at the last after he had, again, missed out on the hazard by a matter of inches.
“It was sloppy out there, I didn’t really hit the ball as well as I needed to,” said Reed. “I made some putts, but didn’t make the putts that I also needed to. It was one of those days, I had to lean a lot on my short game, and the good thing is I was able to do that and put myself into position to still have a share of the lead going into tomorrow.”
Reed’s playing partner, Fitzpatrick, carded four birdies and one bogey to post a four under par 68 as he looks to claim a second victory at Jumeirah Golf Estates after being crowned champion in 2016.
“It was just a solid day, I limited the mistakes on the hole and didn’t necessarily give myself too many chances,” said Fitzpatrick. “The most important thing was I kept myself in touch with the guys at the top and made a nice birdie on the last to finish well.”
Canter had set the clubhouse target at 11 under after posting a four under par 68. The Englishman took the lead with a stunning approach to the last after being forced to lay up before both Reed and Fitzpatrick joined him after making gains of their own on the final hole.
“It’s been good out there,” said Canter. “I’m just trying to stay into what I’m doing. It’s obviously a massive tournament but the golf doesn’t really change for me. I’m just going to keep sort of plodding away and hopefully, I can finish right up there.”
At one point in the day, seven players held a share of the lead with former World Number One Lee Westwood, Viktor Hovland, Robert MacIntyre, and Adri Arnaus all joining the trio at the summit.
MacIntyre and Hovland made the biggest moves of the quartet with the duo both posting six under par 66 to shoot up the leaderboard on moving day and ensure they are in the mix in what is set to be one of the most dramatic final days in DP World Tour Championship history.
T1 L. Canter -11
T1 M. Fitzpatrick -11
T1 P. Reed -11 T
T4 A. Arnaus -10
T4 R. MacIntyre -10
T4 V. Hovland -10
T4 L. Westwood -10
8 S. Valimaki -9
9 D. Willett -8
T10 A. Sullivan -7
T10 T. Hatton -7