Rory McIlroy one off leaders after third-round 65 in Abu Dhabi

Jan 23, 2018, 00:16
Rory McIlroy one off leaders after third-round 65 in Abu Dhabi

BC-GLF-Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, 1st Ld-Writethru, 347 McIlroy 1 shot behind leaders Fisher, Pieters in Abu DhabiAP Photo XKJ144, XKJ113, ARE112, ARE150, XKJ137, ARE118Eds: Adds details, quotes.

Ireland's Rory McIlroy is just one shot off the pace after an incredible day of scoring atthe Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, with Paul Dunne a further three strokes behind.

The Northern Irishman is playing at his first tournament since a win-less, injured plagued, season ended in October. Wicklow, shot a third round score of 65 to add to his previous rounds of 68 and 70, leaving the 2017 British Masters victor on 203, 4 shots off the leaders.

Tommy Fleetwood - the defending champion and last year's Race to Dubai victor - also remains in touch on 15 under alongside Matt Fitzpatrick, who made nine birdies in his first 12 holes on his way to a stunning 63.

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World Number One Dustin Johnson backed up his 8-under 64 from Friday with a 4-under 68 to be at 12-under and five off the lead while in form Branden Grace is 13-under and capable of going low.

McIlroy finally dropped a shot in the tournament on the par-3 15th when he could not get out of the greenside bunker in one attempt. "It's awhile since I've won and I'm excited to get back on the horse and give myself another chance".

"I've had a lot of close calls here, I think about six top threes or something like that", he said.

And Paul Dunne enjoyed his third round as well - also shooting a 65 with no bogeys and seven birdies.

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Ross Fisher and Thomas Pieters forced their way into a share of the lead after the third round of the competition, with Co.

McIlroy had eight birdies this morning with the only blot on the copybook a bogey on the 15th, though he recovered with a chip-in birdie on 17 and picked up another shot on the last.

Pieters was disappointed at not making a birdie on the par-5 18th hole to stay one ahead of Fisher. "That was a bad last hole".

In nine starts he has been runner-up four times and finished third on two other occasions but never won.

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