The Norman Transcript

January 20, 2013

Rose two strokes ahead in Abu Dhabi

By Michael Casey
The Associated Press

NORMAN — ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Justin Rose extended his lead at the Abu Dhabi Championship on Saturday, shooting a 4-under 68 to take a two-shot lead over Jamie Donaldson and Thorbjorn Olesen.

A day after top-ranked Rory McIlroy and second-ranked Tiger Woods missed the cut, the fifth-ranked Englishman made his third round look easy with seven birdies. After three-putting on the first for a bogey, Rose had a stretch of six birdies over nine holes — including sinking a 20-footer on No. 5 that gave him back the lead and an approach shot on No. 9 that rolled to 4 feet from the hole for birdie.

“Delighted about the day,” said Rose, who has been at the top of the leaderboard all week. “I strengthened my lead, if you like, one to two shots. I guess that’s always good.”

Olesen (69) and Donaldson (69) struggled to make putts early but finished with birdies to close the gap. Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (66) finished with two birdies to move into fourth, three shots behind Rose.

Rose cooled down on the back nine, hitting errant drives on Nos. 13 and 17 that led to bogeys and reduced a four-shot lead to two. After Olesen and Donaldson birdied No. 18, Rose responded by nearly chipping in on the same hole and finished with his seventh birdie that gave him a three-round total of 204.

“I was a little bit mad about the bogey at No. 17 because I didn’t feel I did an awful lot wrong there,” Rose said. “I’ve been very resilient and bounced back well.”

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.