Dubai Desert Classic going right to the wire
BY iseekgolf.com | European PGA Tour | 2003 Dubai Desert Classic | Round Three | 09 Mar 2003
The story may be about an Englishman, a Scotsman and a South African but it’s no joke for David Lynn, Alistair Forsyth and Ernie Els, who go into the final round of the £1.2 million Dubai Desert Classic tied for the lead at the Emirates Golf Club.
Els may be the defending champion and a three-time Major winner but he knows he won’t have it all his own way after seeing younger pretenders Lynn and Forsyth match his third round score of 69 (-3) to set up a three-way tie for the lead in the Dubai event. Els, Lynn and Forsyth share the lead on -13 (203).
And with just two shots covering the top six, the three players shadowing the leaders know they are also well in the frame for the £200,000 first prize. Veteran Welshman Ian Woosnam, mercurial Korean teenager Kevin Na and Thai star Thongchai Jaidee are all just two shots adrift on -11 (205).
For the second round running, Els again blew a chance of owning the leadership with another mistake on the par five 18th after three successive birdies. The world number two is not particularly renowned for his errors but again on the closing hole he gambled and lost.
“I had around 195 yards in and took a six iron but was a yard short,” he said after ending his second round in a row with a bogey. “I took the chance and messed it up again. But I’m in with a chance and it’s not just down to the three of us – there’s a lot of guys in with a chance. The greens were a lot quicker today and anyone who shot under par did well.”
Forsyth also had his chance for the outright lead but despite at one stage enjoying a three-shot advantage, the 27-year-old Scot let it slip. “I played solid, left a few shots on the course but putted well,” he said. “Having a three-shot lead half way through the third round is no big deal. If I have it again at the same stage in the final round then it will be a bit more exciting.”
For the second day in a row, Forsyth – winner of last year’s Malaysian Open – will again be paired with Els. “Ernie showed he was human today but he certainly plays a different game from me,” he added. "I’ll be even more relaxed tomorrow as it doesn’t matter who you are playing with when there are six of you in contention."
Lynn, whose last win was six years ago in the Danish Open, may be the dark horse in the top three but he has no fears going into the final 18 holes. “I took about eight holes to get going today but putted nicely at the end,” said the 29-year-old from Billinge, who birdied the 18th to join the other two at the top of the leader board.
“All eyes will be on Ernie and Alastair tomorrow so I’ll just go out and see what I can do. There’s always the fear that Ernie will get away but at the moment the scoring isn’t that great so it’s anyone’s guess who’s going to win.”
Asked if he was excited at the prospect of what lay ahead, Lynn added: “Of course. The Dubai Desert Classic is right up there with the best tournaments – you don’t get much better than this.”
While Els, Lynn and Forsyth matched each other yesterday, the fourth player tied with them at the start of the day had little to cheer. Finland’s Mikko Ilonen saw his chances dip thanks to a one-over-par 73. Fellow Scandinavian Thomas Bjorn, however, remains in with an outside chance thanks to a 71 (-1) which puts him just three shots behind the leaders and still in with a hope of recapturing the Classic title he last held in 2001.
Peter Fowler carded a third round of 71 to finish the day in equal 47th at -2 while 1997 champion Richard Green is one stroke back at -1 and in a nine-way tie for 58th. Jarrod Moseley is the only other Australasian in the field following yesterday’s cut and is at Even Par and 67th place.
Source – Dubai Desert Classic