Shane Lowry is 18 holes from his fourth European Tour victory. The 31-year-old Irishman takes a three-shot lead over Richard Sterne into the final round of the $7 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Lowry, who hasn’t won since the 2015 WGC–Bridgestone Invitational, returned a 5-under 67 to move to 17 under.
“I felt very comfortable out there today and very happy with that,” Lowry said. “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 give it my best tomorrow and see what happens.
“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.”
Sterne is looking for his first win since the 2013 Joburg Open, his sixth European Tour win. He shot a 3-under 69 to move to 14 under.
“I was quite relaxed today,” Sterne said. “Yesterday I was a little nervous for some reason. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in contention but I’ve managed to pull it off a few times, so maybe there’s some magic left in me.”
Sterne was once expected to challenge fellow South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel for major championships, but back injuries have held him back from fulfilling his true talent.
Ian Poulter eagled the par-5 18th hole to shoot a second consecutive 69 and move into third place on his own on 12 under, but Mr. Ryder Cup was a bit annoyed with his round.
“The round was a bit frustrating,” he admitted. “It was one of those days where I wanted to keep it out of the traps but all I kept doing was hitting it in them. To finish with a three was good, especially after obviously bogeying 16.
“If you play well, and you play smart, take advantage of the par fives tomorrow, I think definitely in with a chance.”