Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship: Scott Jamieson retains lead at Yas Links

Shane Lowry, the 2019 champion, and Thomas Pieters a shot back ahead of final round

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

It is 10 seasons now since Scott Jamieson claimed his one and only European Tour title to date.

Midway through last season, he was concerned he might no longer have the rights to carry on playing on the now-renamed DP World Tour, so far had his ranking slipped.

Now, with 18 holes to play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, he is able to contemplate the idea of an overdue return to the winner’s circle. And that, too, in one of the Tour’s blue-chip events.

The 38-year-old Scotsman burned up the course on Thursday’s opening day, firing a course-record round of 9-under par.

Yas Links has tightened its defences in the time since, thanks to fierce winds sweeping over the mangroves from the Arabian Gulf, and buffeting the fairways.

And yet Jamieson, who is ranked No 336 in the world, has proved himself adept at grinding when the going is tough, too.

He might have advanced his score by just two shots over Friday and Saturday, but it has been good enough to give him a one-shot buffer over the field.

Ahead of the final round, he is at 11-under, a stroke ahead of Shane Lowry and Thomas Pieters.

“All I can do is play whatever shot is in front of me, and - all those clichés - stay in the moment, and just try and hit the best shot I can,” Jamieson said, after making 68 in Round 3.

“It would be massive, a game changer to win a tournament of this stature. There's definitely been some great champions here, but there’s an awful long way to go.”

Lowry is one of the great past champions of which Jamieson spoke. The Irishman won the tournament at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in 2019, and remains in the hunt for a repeat.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Lowry said after an eventful finish meant he signed for 67.

“Whoever I'm paired with, it will be a good day but there's one thing in my mind: to be standing here tomorrow with the trophy again.

“It's great for the first tournament of the year to be in contention. There's been plenty of times my first tournament of the year I've missed cuts, and it gets you off to really bad starts. It's nice to be where I am.”

Lowry’s Saturday ended with a misunderstanding, then some laughs, and finally no harm done.

He and his caddy, Brian Martin, picked out a target line on his second shot at the par-5 18th. Between them, they decided the best plan was to aim for one of the sponsor’s signs.

The problem occurred when Lowry was aiming at a sign 30 yards left of the one his caddy had in mind.

Lowry escaped with a par, and all involved could see the funny side – including playing partner Pieters.

“Shane's a lovely guy,” said Pieters, who is level with Lowry on 10-under following his third round 67.

“Ask him about 18; he got the wrong HSBC sign. It was really funny. We had a lot of laughs.

“It's just nice to play with someone when you feed off each other. He plays well, I play well.”

They will get the chance to reprise that partnership on Sunday. Lowry and Pieters will play in a three-ball with Jamieson in the last match out, starting at 11.50am.

Updated: January 22, 2022, 2:52 PM