Willett, Reed share lead in Dubai
The two days of brilliant sunshine gave way to overcast and blustery conditions on Saturday and the weather virtually mirrored Tommy Fleetwood's round as it virtually blew the Englishman's hopes of upstaging good pal and Race to Dubai champion-in-waiting Francesco Molinari.
On a day when both struggled, it was the Race to Dubai incumbent Fleetwood who stumbled, spluttering to a two-over par 74 for six-under after the third round of the DP World Tour Championship at the Earth Course at the Jumeirah Golf Estates.
The 27-year-old had a wretched round, with no birdies to show but two bogeys that saw him run into credit. Fleetwood spiralled down 18 places to tied 24th, eight strokes adrift of the leaders American Patrick Reed and England's Danny Willett and faced with a herculean task of retaining the Race to Dubai crown.
Fleetwood's chances look bleak with him having to win the season-ending event and hoping Molinari finishes outside the top five.
That seems unlikely by the looks of it but one cannot rule out anything in golf, or for that matter, in sport, no matter how slim the chances are.
The long season has perhaps taken its toll on both and it showed on Molinari with the Italian having a mixed bag of a round with six birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey. That gave him a two-under par 70 and five-under for the tournament, and saw him sit tied for 28.
Fleetwood said that it was one of those days and added that there might not be enough left in the tank.
"It was just one of those days, couldn't get the ball to go in the hole," said Fleetwood.
"I feel the adrenaline might have gone now. I think you kind of know when your time's up. I lasted within two days of the season. Like I've said, it was a stretch trying to win it. But it is what it is. At the end of the day, it's just golf, but it does hurt when you have days like that," he added.
Molinari too echoed Fleetwood and said he was running on fumes.
"A mixture to be honest," Molinari said when asked if it was mental or physical fatigue.
"It's something new I've never really experienced this like this and I kind of tried to convince myself that I'm feeling better week-after-week, but then a round of golf and I'm back where I started. I think on Thursday, there was a little bit of adrenaline going and that helped me, definitely, to start with, but at the moment it's just hard to keep the focus or 18 holes," he added.
Molinari said that he will just go out on the morrow and see how it all pans out.
"It would mean a lot, no doubt," he said on winning the Race to Dubai.
"I don't know how many chances you get in a lifetime, in a career, to achieve something like that. It would be great. Obviously it's not really so much in my hands now. I need to go out tomorrow (Sunday) and try to shoot 8-, 9-, 10-under if possible, and if not, just sit down and see what happens," added Molinari.
Meanwhile, Reed and Willett shot five and four-under par respectively for 14-under to share the lead. Englishman Jordan Smith was sole third, a shot behind after a three-under, while countryman and inaugural winner Lee Westwood jumped 13 spots and to tied for fourth with 12-under following a superb seven-under par.