Pinning a guess on low scores, McDowell’s smug reply, lucky number for McIlroy, and more

A look from the sidelines of the fairways and greens around the Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland tees off at the second hole during the third day. Stephen Hindley / AFP
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland tees off at the second hole during the third day. Stephen Hindley / AFP

A look from the sidelines of the fairways and greens around the Jumeirah Golf Estates

Numbers game

World No 7 Justin Rose, perched in third place at three strokes off the lead, does not envision a birdie barrage in the final round remotely similar to the course-record 10-under 62 he posted in 2012. Henrik Stenson won the tournament last year at 25 under and scores this year have generally been less starry. “I think they are fed up with us shooting really low scores,” Rose said. “The pins have been two or three yards tighter this year to the edges, so I’m not sure there’s that super low one. Obviously, we have seen a 64 this week, so that’s out there for sure. But I think the pins have been tighter this year.”

Rookie in the mix

Tyrrell Hatton said looking at the names on the scoreboards can be a bit daunting and, as a European Tour rookie, being listed alongside world-beaters such as Rory McIlroy and Stenson seems almost incomprehensible. But the Englishman birdied the first four holes for the second day in a row, finished with a four-under 68 and jumped into joint fourth. “It’s weird to think it’s my name next to theirs, but I’ve got a job to do,” he said. Hatton might find motivation in the fact that rookie-of-the-year favourite Brooks Koepka won last week in Turkey, knocking off some of the same players in the Dubai season finale.

Quotable quotes

Graeme McDowell, above, has long been known as one of the game’s most insightful stars, but his performance in the event over the years has been consistently forgettable. McDowell shot 72 and then offered one of the funniest no-comment-style remarks. “You don’t want to hear what I have to say,” the Northern Irishman said. “Look at my Saturday-evening quotes from last year, copy and paste.”

Dual-role wedge

Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez broke his putter in anger on the 11th hole and was forced to scrape around on the greens with a wedge. The ‘Mechanic’ still eagled the par-5 18th to finish with a 69.

Makeable margin

Briefly, it seemed Robert Karlsson was teeing up another late charge. The 2010 champion, without a victory since that play-off win four years ago, held solo second. Then three behind leader Stenson, it mirrored the overnight deficit in 2010. Not that he realised the symmetry, or envisaged an identical outcome tomorrow. “Are you sure?” Karlsson said. “OK, I’m only three back now, but it could be six by the end of the day.” He would be pleased to find Stenson one shot closer to him.

History aids McIlroy

Believe in omens? Rory McIlroy started this week with a 6-under 66. The last two times he began tournaments with that score, at the British Open and PGA Championship, he won. He will surely need 66 or better today to repeat the feats, however. Meanwhile, Italy’s Matteo Manassero, 21, is the youngest player in the DP World field for a remarkable fifth consecutive year.

* Steve Elling and John McAuley

Published: November 22, 2014 04:00 AM

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