Rory McIlroy one off leaders after third-round 65 in Abu Dhabi

DJ sends one into the Abu Dhabi sky this week on the Euro Tour
DJ sends one into the Abu Dhabi sky this week on the Euro Tour

21 January, 2018

The 20ft putt put the icing on a six-under-par 66 that left him at nine under and just three shots behind Ryder Cup partner and leader Thomas Pieters - and one behind Fleetwood, who shot 68.

Fox is one of five players seven shots under the card. "Not just for this week but for the rest of the season, as well". But, yeah, I couldn't really make a putt.

'Every round I play here I feel like he's my little mascot.

"Looking ahead to the final day, McIlroy said: "It would mean a lot to win here in Abu Dhabi".

Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after shooting 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. "I did everything a lot better today". "It proves I'm back to full fitness and 100 per cent health".

Belgian Thomas Pieters leads the pack on 12 under. I'm in a really good place, and a couple of the guys played some unbelievable golf, and you can't do anything about that.

Rory McIlroy need not have bothered to tell reporters that he is feeling "rejuvenated and refocused".

"I feel like I'm bang in contention now and I'm still bogey-free in 2018!"

Playing in his first event since October because of a rib injury, McIlroy said his plan for Sunday was to "go out and try and shoot the best score" possible. "We'll go out there tomorrow and hopefully have more fun".

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As he was happy enough to admit, the company kept by Rory McIlroy for his first competitive round in 106 days was as significant as the accomplished nature of what he produced in Abu Dhabi.

"Being a golf fan as well as a player, it was nice".

In the PGA Tour's year-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, the American almost aced a 433-yard par-4 hole en route to winning the champions-only event by a whopping eight shots over Jon Rahm.

"It's a good golf course to hit 18 greens around", Fleetwood said.

"I felt really comfortable, really relaxed out there". Obviously I've scored ridiculously well today.

The 25-year-old opened the tournament with an impressive 69 to put himself into early contention for the lion's share of the €2 507 520 purse, but an incoherent display on day two saw him drifting away from the leading pack.

While the challenge is usually just a gimmick to give a golf fan a taste of the big time, Murphy impressively took his moment in the spotlight with a massive tee shot. I think it will be tough to beat.

Tyrrell Hatton, ranked 17th in the world, and two-time major champion Martin Kaymer also shot 3-under 69s.

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