Dubai - Bryson DeChambeau gave himself a great opportunity to win his first
title outside the United States by moving into pole position after the
penultimate day of the Dubai Desert Classic on Saturday, while Ernie Els
stayed in contention.
American DeChambeau, the highest ranked player in the field at world
number five, overcame a mid-round hiccup of two consecutive bogeys to
shoot a four-under-par 68 and finish on 16-under par.
That gave him a one-shot advantage over defending champion Li
Haotong, who moved to 15-under with his third straight five-under-par
Three-time champion Els (70) showed plenty of patience on a tough
scoring day when the greens were playing tricky after drying up in the
The South African veteran was bogey-free and made just two birdies -
on the third and 18th holes - to sit tied third alongside England's
There was drama during the round when Australia's Lucas Herbert (72),
joint leader at the start of the day, was imposed a two-shot penalty
after using his club to push the sand in a waste area on the third hole.
Herbert was informed of the ruling on the ninth hole and even though
he showed remarkable tenacity and birdied his next four holes, he fell
back for a tie of fifth place at 12-under.
The 25-year-old DeChambeau was one-over par for his round after a
bogey on the eighth hole, but made a long birdie putt on the ninth to
make the turn at even par, and then added four more birdies on the back
The frustration of not making a birdie on the par-five 18th, and
missing a short birdie putt on the 14th hole, was evident after his
"I'm just not 100 percent with my golf game right now. I'm still
leading, obviously. It's fantastic. I couldn't be displeased with that,
but my expectation levels are for how I know I can perform, and I feel
like I'm underperforming a little bit," said the man who has won three
times in his last eight starts on the PGA Tour.
"I had a couple chances to right the ship and be three or four ahead,
but I'm only one ahead. I've got a lot of work to do tomorrow."
could become only the second player in the 30-year history of the
tournament to successfully defend his title after Scotland's Stephen
Gallacher in 2014. He made seven birdies and two bogeys, including a
missed par putt from less than two feet on the par-four 16th hole.
"It would definitely mean a lot (to win again). I just want to play
my best out there and tomorrow, hopefully hold the trophy again," said
the 23-year-old world number 43, who closed with successive birdies.
"It was pretty decent today. Actually, my long game was way better
than the last couple days. And apart from 16, I putted well too."
The rejuvenated Alvaro Quiros (71) of Spain looked like joining Li in
second place, but wound up with a double bogey after hitting his second
shot into the water on the 18th hole and was tied fifth at 12-under.
European Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood improved to tied 12th at 10-under.
Leading third-round scores from the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic on Saturday at the par-72 Majlis course of Emirates Golf Club (GBR & IRL unless stated):
200 – Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 66-66-68
201 – Li Haotong (CHN) 67-67-67
203 – Matt Wallace 70-64-69, Ernie Els (RSA) 68-65-70
204 – Kalle Samooja (FIN) 66-70-68, Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 69-67-68, Alvaro Quiros (ESP) 69-64-71, Lucas Herbert (AUS) 69-63-72
205 - Jordan Smith 68-68-69, Matthew Fitzpatrick 65-70-70, Jason Scrivener (AUS) 67-67-71
206 – Andrew Johnston 72-69-65, Tommy Fleetwood 68-70-68, An Byeong-hun (KOR) 70-68-68, Lee Westwood 67-70-69, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 66-70-70, George Coetzee (RSA) 70-65-71, Matthieu Pavon (FRA) 66-68-72
207 – Victor Perez (FRA) 70-70-67, Lucas Bjerregaard (DEN) 72-68-67, Ross Fisher 69-69-69, Shane Lowry 69-67-71, Bradley Dredge 68-68-71, Kim Koivu (FIN) 67-68-72, Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 69-66-72