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Casey cards eight-under to hold one-stroke lead

Paul Casey takes a one-shot lead at the Dubai Desert Classic.— Twitter
Paul Casey takes a one-shot lead at the Dubai Desert Classic.— Twitter

Dubai - Casey is chasing his 15th European Tour title



By James Jose

Published: Sat 30 Jan 2021, 6:14 PM

Last updated: Sat 30 Jan 2021, 7:36 PM

Englishman Paul Casey will take a one-stroke lead going into the final day of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic after conjuring a brilliant third round at the Emirates Golf Club on Saturday.

The world No.27, a 14-time winner on the European Tour, carded a sparkling eight-under par 64 at the 7424-yard Majlis Course, to surge into the lead.

It was a sensational round, one without a blemish, bogey-free and with six birdies, and he wrapped his journey with a fantastic eagle on the par-5 18th.

That saw the three-time Ryder Cup winner vault five spots on the leaderboard and go 15-under, one shot ahead of Scotsman Robert MacIntyre, who carded a five-under for the day.

South African Brandon Stone was two strokes behind in third followed by 2017 Sergio Garcia, who shot a five-under to be tied fourth along with Englishman Laurie Canter.

Overnight leader Belgian Thomas Detry, Justin Rose and South African Justin Harding were seven shots further back to be tied seventh.

Casey began his round with back-to-back birdies on the second and the third and rolled in two more birdies on the par-4 fifth and par-3 seventh. He started the back nine with a birdie on the par-5 10th before shooting another birdie on the par-4 17th. Casey then finished with an eagle for the joint lowest round of the week. South African Richard Sterne had shot 64 in the first round, while countryman Tyrrell Hatton did so in the second round.

“It's one of the iconic shots in golf, isn't it? To finish off with an eagle is pretty cool,” Casey said about the eagle on the 18th.

“You can never say flawless, can you, because there's always errors but it was very controlled. It was a really enjoyable round of golf, challenging yet, at the same time, with a little bit of wind here and there. I'm enjoying my golf, and that was an example of it today,” he added.

Casey has won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship twice in 2007 and 2009 and the 43-year-old hoped he can add a Dubai title to his collection.

“I've won just down the road. I've never won in Dubai. It's iconic. I can see the very impressive list of winners, those photos of them behind the 18th green. It's cool. Iconic trophy, iconic event. Dubai has given so much to golf, especially the European Tour, so yeah, that would be very, very cool. But there's a long way to go yet,” said Casey.

Meanwhile, India’s Shubhankar Sharma could only manage par after impressive rounds over the first two days. The 24-year-old, the Sir Henry Rookie of the Year and the Asian Tour Order of Merit winner in 2018, had shot a two-under and four-under in the first two rounds, but endured an up and down journey in round three. He shot three birdies and an equal number of bogeys to be placed tied 17th.

Defending champion Lucas Herbert too shot a par round two to follow up his two-over and six-under to be tied 29th at four-under.

Race to Dubai champion Lee Westwood carded a par round to be tied 10th at seven-under, while Abu Dhabi winner Hatton was tied 22nd.

james@khaleejtimes.com


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