Rose grabs one-stroke lead; Fleetwood lurks within striking distance

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Rose grabs one-stroke lead; Fleetwood lurks within striking distance
Justin Rose plays a shot on the 18th fairway during the third round of the DP World Tour Championship golf tournament in Dubai on Saturday.

Dubai - Dylan Frittelli carded the best third round score of 63 on Saturday in the DP World Tour Championship at The Earth course

By Sunil K. Vaidya

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Published: Sat 18 Nov 2017, 4:54 PM

Last updated: Sat 18 Nov 2017, 6:58 PM

Justin Rose bloomed amidst crowded leaderboard but had to keep his eyes firmly on the rear view mirror as Tommy Fleetwood played a spectacular back nine to stay in striking distance for the Race to Dubai Title.
Dylan Frittelli carded the best third round score of 63 on Saturday in the DP World Tour Championship at The Earth course but Rose ended the day with seven under to take a one-stroke lead at the end of the third day in the Rolex Series event watched by a sizeable crowd.
The curse of the 18th hole continued to bother some and seem to have come back to haunt the 2007 Order of Merit winner when he hit his second shot in the water hazard that runs along the greens. After a drop, he pitched his fourth shot to within five feet for his par on the last hole.
The 2007 Order-of-Merit winner could have ended up with bigger lead at the top of the crowded leaderboard had he not missed a birdie on the birdie-gettable 15th hole where the tee was up 92 yards. Rose, however, found bunker off the tree and had to be contended with a par score. Before missing an easier birdie possibility, he had three birdies on the trot.
Some extra work with his putting coach, Phil Kenyon seem to have worked for Rose as he looked in an incredible putting form. He made a 14-feet birdie on the par-5 seventh then he had an 18-feet birdie from the front of the 12th green. His most spectacular birdie probably came when he holed his third shot from 36-feet on the par-4 16th.
"I think if I can continue that improvement tomorrow, I prefer that," he said about his improved putting.
"Still a couple (of) moments out there I didn't hit great putts, but that one at the last is a big confidence builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow," he added
Rose's playing partner on day three, Rahm, is sharing second place at 14 under with Frittelli, who played a bogey-less round of nine under.  Then there are three clubbed together with the score of 203. And, four are just three points adrift the tournament leader.
While Rose had an excellent first nine of 33 with three birdies on his bogey-free day, his close rival for the Harry Vardon Trophy, Fleetwood struggled on the first nine with a bogey on the fifth. However, the long-haired Englishman bounced back on the back nine and there was no stopping the genial golfer from England. On the back nine, he had six birdies, including four back-to-back from 13th to 16th.
Happy with his 65 on consecutive days, Fleetwood is looking forward to the final day on Sunday. "So last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai, it's cool," Fleetwood enthused.
"It's massive. It really is," he confessed what it would mean to win his first Race to Dubai title .
"But above all, he added, "whether I win it or not, or whether Justin wins it, one of us will have deserved it. It's been an absolute pleasure trying to win a Race to Dubai, coming down these last few events, and especially this week now.  
Going into the final day, battles are getting intense but Rose seemed to be having an upper hand for both the titles - DP World Tour Championship as well as the Race to Dubai - unless he takes his eyes off the mirror and his friend Fleetwood overtakes him.

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