Shane Lowry fires ahead in Abu Dhabi, Gaganjeet Bhullar lying T19

Shane Lowry gained a three-stroke cushion over Richard Sterne, with a 67 in the third round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship

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Shane Lowry shot 67 in the third round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship

18 January 2019: European Tour Release

Shane Lowry remains on course to claim his first European Tour title since 2015 after extending his advantage to three shots on day three of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.

The 31-year-old secured the most recent of his three victories at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational over three years ago but he is in pole position with one round remaining after posting a third-round 67.

Lowry showcased his short-game prowess on a breezy afternoon at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, mixing seven birdies – including three in a row from the sixth – with two bogeys on Friday to get to 17 under par.

Sterne, who has not been in the winner’s circle since clinching his sixth European Tour title at the Joburg Open in 2013, was Lowry’s nearest challenger on 14 under following his third-round 69.

Meanwhile, Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter finished his round with an eagle to head into the final day in third place on 12 under – one shot clear of 2014 Champion Pablo Larrazábal – with Belgian Thomas Pieters, Dane Søren Kjeldsen, and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson a further shot off the pace.

“I played good. I felt very comfortable out there today and very happy with that. Very excited about tomorrow. Obviously I’m in a great position. It’s been a while since I’ve been up having a lead going into Sunday. I’ll enjoy it. Have a nice dinner tonight and get ready tomorrow and give it my best tomorrow and see what happens,” said Lowry.

“I think the up-and-down on 17 was huge, because I knew Richard (Sterne) was making a few birdies, and it’s only the third round but it’s nice to be in the lead. To hit one in after 17, I was happy to make birdie.

“I’m not going to say I feel invincible because we all know that this game is not easy, and it can jump up and bite you when you least expect it. I’m just trying to go out and do what I’ve been doing. I’ve been hitting some lovely iron shots. It just so happens that I’ve hit them on the par threes and holed a few putts. It just shows when I get myself in position, I can give myself chances and that’s kind of what I need to do.

“Obviously we’re playing in a world-class field on a very difficult golf course. I think I just need to go out and stay aggressive and just play my own game and try and make as many birdies as I can. That’s the way I play golf. If I can do that, hopefully I can be up there at the end of the day and give myself a chance coming down the last few.”

Gaganjeet Bhullar shot a composed 69 to move up 26 spots to T19. He is the lone remaining Indian in the field, after SSP Chawrasia and Shubhankar Sharma both missed the cut. Bhullar’s round contained five birdies and two bogeys.

Round Three Scores

199 S Lowry (Irl) 62 70 67,
202 R Sterne (RSA) 65 68 69,
204 I Poulter (Eng) 66 69 69,
205 P Larrazábal (Esp) 65 72 68,
206 M Kieffer (Ger) 68 71 67, S Kjeldsen (Den) 66 69 71, S Jamieson (Sco) 69 66 71, T Pieters (Bel) 67 70 69,
207 B Koepka (USA) 67 70 70, L Westwood (Eng) 66 68 73, P Waring (Eng) 70 67 70,
208 B Hebert (Fra) 68 71 69, D Foos (Ger) 68 68 72, J Smith (Eng) 72 66 70, G Forrest (Sco) 71 65 72, L Oosthuizen (RSA) 65 68 75, J Luiten (Ned) 69 68 71, D Horsey (Eng) 71 66 71,
209 G Green (Mas) 69 67 73, R Fox (Nzl) 69 70 70, A Arnaus (Esp) 69 68 72, A Björk (Swe) 66 71 72, G Bhullar (Ind) 70 70 69, M Wallace (Eng) 70 68 71,
210 E Pepperell (Eng) 70 68 72, D Fichardt (RSA) 73 68 69, B Grace (RSA) 70 69 71, D Lipsky (USA) 68 73 69, F Zanotti (Par) 67 73 70, T Lewis (Eng) 68 67 75, T Bjørn (Den) 70 71 69, J Singh Brar (Eng) 69 68 73, M Schwab (Aut) 70 68 72,
211 J Walters (RSA) 70 69 72, B Wiesberger (Aut) 70 68 73, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 68 71 72, A Sullivan (Eng) 69 72 70, S Brazel (Aus) 70 69 72, J Scrivener (Aus) 72 65 74,
212 A Quiros (Esp) 72 69 71, E Van Rooyen (RSA) 70 69 73, J Campillo (Esp) 71 69 72, R Jacquelin (Fra) 71 70 71, C Shinkwin (Eng) 71 68 73, B Dredge (Wal) 70 68 74, D Johnson (USA) 69 71 72, M Southgate (Eng) 70 71 71, L Herbert (Aus) 71 65 76, M Kaymer (Ger) 66 72 74,