Agencies/ Abu Dhabi
• The Scotsman is still ahead of Shane Lowry, Thomas Pieters in Abu Dhabi
Scott Jamieson retained a one-shot lead going into the final round of the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi after a four-under-par 68 yesterday ahead of Shane Lowry and Thomas Pieters.
Scotland’s Jamieson struck five birdies, including one on the final hole, to finish on an 11-under-par total.
Irishman Lowry and Belgium’s Pieters, who matched each other with bogey-free rounds of five-under 67, piled the pressure on Jamieson but the Scot showed great composure in his fight for a second title on the European Tour.
“After yesterday, certainly the whole day seems a little more straightforward but it still wasn’t easy,” said Jamieson, who won his first title in 2013.
“The greens were considerably quicker and there was still a decent amount of breeze.
“It would be massive, a game-changer, to win a tournament of this stature. There’s definitely been some great champions here, and that’s an awful long way to go.”
India’s Shubhankar Sharma and Norway’s Viktor Hovland sat in a share of fourth place on eight-under, while Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello was a shot further back alongside Englishmen James Morrison and Ian Poulter.
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy carded a five-under 67 to reach two-under for the tournament, while world number two Collin Morikawa sat on two-over after a third-round 71.
“All I can do is play whatever shot is in front of me - all those clichés, stay in the moment and just try and hit the best shot I can,” Jamieson said.
Norway’s Hovland yesterday made a two-putt birdie from long range at the par-five second to join the lead and Lowry was also soon at seven under as he followed a two-putt from the fringe at the same hole with a near 30-foot putt on the fifth.
Jamieson had made a solid start but played a spectacular tee-shot at the par-three fourth, almost making an ace and holing from two feet to edge ahead.
Pieters birdied the first with a 15-footer from the fringe and added a two-putt from the collar at the par-five seventh to join the group at seven under but they were soon two back as Jamieson holed from 16 feet at the sixth.
The big-hitting Belgian then holed a 12-footer at the ninth to trim the lead back and Hovland joined him from 18 feet at the eighth.
Pieters was flying and made a two-putt birdie on the 11th to join the lead, with a Hovland bogey at the tenth after an uncharacteristic second that went just 21 yards and found the sand handing the leading duo a two-shot advantage.
Lowry had missed good birdie chances at the seventh and 11th but the Irishman made one count from eight feet at the 12th to get to eight under where he was joined by the surging Sharma.
The Indian hit excellent approaches into the first and ninth to bookend a front nine of 34 that contained a double-bogey on the sixth after taking three off the tee and an eagle on the next from 33 feet.
He did well to take advantage of the 11th after a ragged tee-shot and then hit a beautiful approach into the 14th and holed a 20-footer on the next in a 67.
Jamieson made a smart up-and-down on the 11th to move back ahead, with Hovland doing the same to rejoin the group in third.
The leader gave that shot back on the 14th after a poor tee-shot and Pieters was alone at the top as he holed a 30-foot putt on the 16th.
He was not alone for long, however, as Lowry, who had played a beautiful approach to set up a gain on the 15th, followed him in from 13 feet.
Jamieson responded brilliantly to his bogey with a 19-foot putt on the 15th making it a three-way tie and Hovland moved within one as he holed from half the distance.
But they had contrasting fortunes on the last as Jamieson played a beautiful approach from a tough spot to set up a gain from 10 feet, while Hovland three-putted for a bogey and signed for a round of 70.
Spaniard Cabrera Bello holed an exquisite bunker shot on the 17th en route to a 69, with English duo Poulter and Morrison signing for rounds of 71 and 72 respectively.
Australian Major Champion Adam Scott and Italy’s Andrea Pavan were at six under.
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