England’s Ian Poulter kept up his bid for back-to-back victories by taking a two-stroke lead after the Dubai World Championship third round yesterday.
Last week’s Hong Kong Open winner carded a three-under 69 for a 12-under total of 204, two ahead of fellow countryman and playing partner Ross Fisher (71), Italy’s Francesco Molinari (68) and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (69).
One stroke further adrift were world No. 1 Lee Westwood (71) and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (67).
Martin Kaymer found the water with his approach shot and double-bogeyed the par-five 18th, but was still poised to finish the year as Europe’s No. 1.
The German, who has a lead of 290,000 euros (US$384,000) over second-placed Graeme McDowell in the money-list, finished with a 73 for 210.
McDowell, who will probably need to win this week’s tournament to overhaul Kaymer in the Race to Dubai, was four strokes adrift of the German after shooting a 69 in the season finale.
Up for grabs for Kaymer and McDowell, the only two players who can top the money-list, is a US$1.26 million check for winning the tournament, plus a US$1.5 million bonus for finishing the season as Europe’s No. 1.
“Barring the impossible, I think Europe’s No. 1 is probably not a reality for me any more,” McDowell said.
“I can certainly draw a line under it tomorrow in the last round and just put a nice end to what’s been a fantastic year,” added the US Open, Wales Open and Andalucia Masters winner.
AFP, KHON KAEN, THAILAND
Thailand’s Prom Meesawat held onto a share of the lead at the King’s Cup yesterday and said he was happy still to be in the hunt for what would be his first Asian Tour title in four years.
Prom, nicknamed the “Big Dolphin,” shot a two-under 70 to tie for the lead with South Africa’s Jbe Kruger on 11-under 205 after three rounds at the Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club.
The big-hitting Prom birdied three of his opening four holes, before turning in 34 and said he was disappointed not to convert his birdie chances in the back nine as he closed with one birdie and one bogey.
“I had a lot of birdie chances, but they didn’t go in,” said Prom, whose sole Asian Tour victory was in 2006.
Prom has been struggling with a shoulder injury in the past two years, but said he would go all out to win the trophy for the Thai king.
“Winning the King’s Cup is not for your individual gain, but for the king and people of Thailand. He is such a good king and many Thais are hoping that the title stays in the country,” Prom said.
Kruger bounced back from a double-bogey on the eighth hole with five birdies to finish on 69 and put himself in contention for the third time this season. He finished second at the Handa Singapore Classic and at the Brunei Open, where he lost in a playoff to Rahman Siddikur of Bangladesh.
In-form Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Thailand holed two superb eagles on his way to a round of 66 for a 206 total.
He shared third place with Australia’s Tony Carolan (71), who struggled with a bout of flu. Thai legend Thaworn Wiratchant fired a 69 to lie fifth on 209, while South Korea’s Mo Joong-kyung is a stroke back, along with Thai trio Panuphol Pittayarat, Kwanchai Tannin and Udorn Duangdecha.
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