'Underperforming' Bryson DeChambeau takes 1-shot lead into final round at Dubai

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'Underperforming' Bryson DeChambeau takes 1-shot lead into final round at Dubai

Euro Tour

'Underperforming' Bryson DeChambeau takes 1-shot lead into final round at Dubai

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Bryson DeChambeau is just 18 holes away from his first international victory. The world number five takes a one-shot lead into the final round of the $3.25 million Omega Dubai Desert Classic. All he has to do is fend off the challenge of defending champion Haotong Li, four-time major winner Ernie Els and an in-form Englishman Matt Wallace to win his first European Tour event and the $541,660 first-place check.

DeChambeau returned a 4-under 68 to go with consecutive 66s, but it wasn’t all plain sailing. Tied for the 36-hole lead with Australian Lucas Herbert on 12 under, the five-time PGA Tour winner stuttered over the front nine. He followed a birdie at the sixth hole with consecutive bogeys at seven and eight. He was three shots off Álvaro Quirós’ lead at that point. A birdie at the ninth after holing a lengthy putt got him to the turn in level par.

“I made a 27-footer and I needed that to give myself some momentum,” DeChambeau said.

DeChambeau, 25, went back to the top of the leaderboard with four birdies and no bogeys on the back nine. However, he wasn’t entirely happy when he left the golf course.

He rarely is.

“I’m not 100% with my golf game right now,” the five-time PGA Tour winner admitted. “I’m still leading obviously which is fantastic. I couldn’t be more pleased with that. But I have expectation levels for how I know I can perform and I feel like I’m underperforming a little bit. Still in the lead. I got the job done.

“Even with not my best I can get it done. I’ve done it before and, if worse comes to worst, I’ll figure out a way.”

It’ll be DeChambeau’s first European Tour victory, and his first overseas win.

“I can’t express to you how awesome it would be to win on the European Tour.”

DeChambeau will have his work cut out for him. Li returned a third consecutive 67 to stay in the hunt. He held off Rory McIlroy down the stretch last year to win, so he’s not going to back off against the world’s fifth best player. Li is performing better on the greens this week after recently turning to putting guru Phil Kenyon for help.

Els has the vast experience over the Majlis course. The 49-year-old South African is a three-time Dubai Desert Classic winner. He will pen a great story if he can win for a fourth time.

Wallace was one of Europe’s hottest players last year. He won three times to take his win tally to four in just two years. Do not expect the 28-year-old Englishman Wallace to be fazed by final round pressure, either.

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