Andy Sullivan on course for wire-to-wire victory in Dubai
Andy Sullivan remains on course for a wire-to-wire victory in the Golf in Dubai Championship despite missing the chance to build a commanding lead.
Sullivan took a three-shot lead into the third round and was four ahead at the turn, but could only play the back nine of the Fire Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in one under par to give hope to the chasing pack.
A 68 left the four-time European Tour winner on 21 under par, two shots ahead of fellow Englishman Matt Wallace, with Ross Fisher and Renato Paratore a further stroke adrift.
Sullivan, who ended a five-year victory drought by shooting 27 under par to win the English Championship in August, said: “I’m happy with four under. I didn’t think I played brilliant golf.
“I wasn’t swinging it that great and a few of the pins I couldn’t quite get at. You are playing for 20 feet and from there the percentages are not great. All in all, I stayed patient and got my just desserts coming in with those two birdies.
“That’s what we were talking about before we got out there, it’s about being patient and I’m sure it will be the same tomorrow. There’s a lot of golf to be played, a lot of birdies to be made. If I play as good as I did the first two days I’ll be a confident man.”
Wallace carded six birdies and a solitary bogey in his 67 but insisted he is not thinking about winning a fifth European Tour title after failing to convert a three-shot lead after 54 holes of the Scottish Championship in October.
“I had a chance in Scotland and was in a better position in Scotland to win and I didn’t,” Wallace said. “I’m two behind a Ryder Cup player, someone who is playing really well. I’m going to have to go really low tomorrow.
“It’s not just him (Sullivan), someone could come from 15, 16 (under) and shoot nine or 10 under. Hopefully it can be me, but I’m just going to relax now and get ready for the fight.”
Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre is among those five shots off the lead after covering his first seven holes in seven under par before having to settle for a 66.
The left-hander birdied his first five holes and then holed from 20 feet for an eagle on the par-five seventh, but played the remaining 11 holes in one over after a costly double bogey on the 11th.
“Obviously I’m happy with six under par, I’d have taken that before I went out, but after the start I had I should really have scored a lot better,” said MacIntyre, who missed from inside two feet for a birdie on the 18th.
“To finish the way I did wasn’t so sweet and you want it not to happen, but it’s just part and parcel of the game.
“I think it’s going to be like a shoot-out again (on Saturday), that suits my game. I’m playing great. I’m putting good, just need to tidy it up a little bit and see where we end up.”
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