Andy Sullivan retains the lead in Dubai

Andy Sullivan retained a two-stroke advantage at the Jumeirah Golf Estates with a steady 68 in the third round. Matt Wallace was giving him pursuit.

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Andy Sullivan - Matt Wallace - European Tour

Andy Sullivan will take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World as the Englishman hunts a fifth European Tour victory and his second of the 2020 Race to Dubai season.

In each of his last two victories – at the English Championship in August and the 2015 Portugal Masters – Sullivan has converted a third round lead, but the 33-year-old will have to fend off the significant challenge of four-time European Tour winner Matt Wallace if he is to repeat that feat for a third successive time at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

“I’m happy with four under. I didn’t think I played brilliant golf. Started off really nicely front nine, played really solid. Ten through to 14 I didn’t swing it that great, didn’t give myself that many chances. Found some good swing coming in, which was really good, dug deep there and managed to get a few birdies coming home. Four under is a pretty fair reflection on how I played. 

I wasn’t swinging it that great and a few of the pins I couldn’t quite get at, wasn’t as confident to swing it as well at them. You are playing for 20 feet and from there the percentages are not great. All in all, 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 tomorrow. Just got to go out there and play golf. If I play as good as I did the first two days I’ll be a confident man.”

Andy Sullivan reflects on his third round

Wallace, three behind heading into round three, outscored his playing partner and compatriot Sullivan by a stroke to card a five under par 67 and narrow the deficit to two at the top of the leaderboard. Sullivan’s 68 means he remains on course for a wire-to-wire victory as he moved to a 21 under par total.

Ross Fisher, playing alongside Sullivan and Wallace, signed for a four under 68 to remain in touch of his fellow Englishmen, just three shots off the lead at 18 under par. He was joined in a share of third place by Renato Paratore, the Italian’s 65 moving him into contention for a second title of the campaign having won the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood in June.

“It was alright, didn’t swing it as good today. I felt a bit nervous, if I’m honest. Not at the start, but then a few tee shots didn’t feel as comfortable, didn’t strike it as well. Had to tell myself to let it go and struck it better coming in. Frustrating to miss that putt on the last. The grain really gets quite strong as the day goes on. On 17 it broke more, 18 broke a lot. I wouldn’t have given it outside the hole from that distance, and I would have had to. 

“The birdie on the next hole (after bogey on nine) settled me down, but I knew I could hole that putt. I knew good drive, middle of the green to a back pin that was quite dangerous, I knew that I could hole that putt on a hard hole. Then I hit a great shot into 11. Staying patient, waiting for my run, a little bit. I hit a really bad shot on nine, which could have got to me – and would have probably got to me in the past – but I know that I’m swinging it well and I know I’m going to give myself loads of chances. Same tomorrow, I’m going to have loads of chances tomorrow. 

“I’m not thinking about that (winning tomorrow), if I’m honest. I had a chance in Scotland and was in a better position in Scotland to win and I didn’t. 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, someone could come from 15, 16 and shoot nine or ten under. You’ve seen out there, Robert Macintyre was seven under through nine, so that can happen. Hopefully it can be me, but I’m just going to relax now and get ready for the fight tomorrow.”

Matt Wallace at the end of his third round

Round Three Scores 
195 A SULLIVAN (ENG) 61 66 68,
197 M WALLACE (ENG) 63 67 67,
198 R FISHER (ENG) 63 67 68, R PARATORE (ITA) 68 65 65,
199 A ROZNER (FRA) 63 69 67, F LAPORTA (ITA) 65 69 65,
200 M SCHMITT (GER) 68 64 68, O LENGDEN (SWE) 64 69 67, R MACINTYRE (SCO) 66 68 66, N LEMKE (SWE) 66 68 66, M LORENZO-VERA (FRA) 69 66 65,
202 C HOWIE (SCO) 64 68 70, T OLESEN (DEN) 69 64 69, S BROWN (ENG) 70 63 69, M WARREN (SCO) 64 70 68, S CROCKER (USA) 68 66 68, J LAGERGREN (SWE) 67 68 67, B WIESBERGER (AUT) 70 66 66,
203 T PIETERS (BEL) 67 68 68, S V?LIM?KI (FIN) 70 68 65,
204 L SCALISE (ITA) 65 68 71, J AXELSEN (DEN) 66 67 71, G FORREST (SCO) 66 68 70, S SODERBERG (SWE) 67 69 68, C SORDET (FRA) 68 70 66, S GALLACHER (SCO) 69 69 66, N KEARNEY (IRL) 71 67 66,
205 R KARLBERG (SWE) 65 69 71, B RITTHAMMER (GER) 68 67 70, A OTAEGUI (ESP) 68 68 69, J SMITH (ENG) 69 68 68,
206 M KORHONEN (FIN) 66 69 71, M KAYMER (GER) 66 71 69, A KNAPPE (GER) 70 68 68, D HORSEY (ENG) 71 67 68, J MORRISON (ENG) 67 72 67, A RAI (ENG) 70 69 67, T DETRY (BEL) 68 72 66,
207 D WILLETT (ENG) 67 67 73, C SHINKWIN (ENG) 68 68 71, J CAMPILLO (ESP) 66 71 70, H LONG (GER) 70 68 69, H LI (CHN) 67 72 68,
208 J JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 66 70 72, D PERRIER (FRA) 67 69 72, P WARING (ENG) 68 68 72, M ARMITAGE (ENG) 68 69 71, S HORSFIELD (ENG) 68 70 70, J STALTER (FRA) 70 68 70, R ROCK (ENG) 70 70 68, M BALDWIN (ENG) 71 70 67,
209 T PULKKANEN (FIN) 67 69 73, J SENIOR (ENG) 68 69 72, R WATTEL (FRA) 71 66 72, P ANGLES (ESP) 65 73 71, J FAHRBRING (SWE) 68 70 71, E PEPPERELL (ENG) 69 69 71, W BESSELING (NED) 73 65 71,
210 E CUARTERO BLANCO (ESP) 69 68 73, N VON DELLINGSHAUSEN (GER) 70 67 73, N COLSAERTS (BEL) 72 67 71, S TILEY (ENG) 69 71 70, R SCIOT-SIEGRIST (FRA) 69 72 69, M JORDAN (ENG) 73 68 69,
211 E WALKER (SCO) 71 70 70, A WILSON (ENG) 74 67 70,
212 M KEYSER (RSA) 70 69 73, M KINHULT (SWE) 69 72 71,
213 J WRISDALE (ENG) 72 67 74,
214 B EVANS (ENG) 71 66 77, E FERGUSON (SCO) 72 69 73,
217 P ORIOL (ESP) 73 68 76,