McIlroy, Donald set for Dubai finale
McIlroy, Donald set for Dubai finale
At the Earth course of the Jumeirah Golf Estates, the world’s top two ranked players shot matching rounds of five-under-par 67 each and were tied at 17-under par 199.
The South African duo of world No.6 Louis Oosthuizen (68) and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (69) were tied for third place at 14-under par 202, while their compatriot Branden Grace was another two shots behind at 204 and tied fifth with Netherlands’ Joost Luiten.
Donald has now gone exactly 100 holes without a bogey at the Earth course — a streak that started from the ninth hole of his second round last year. Today, he went out in 32 and made two further birdies on the back nine.
“Again, another solid round and in a great position. It will be a fun end to the season. Obviously playing with Rory, No.1 and No.2 in the world, and the last round for both of us in 2012,” said the Chicago-based Englishman.
“I played a very solid. Picked off the par-5s and made a couple other birdies. Very much in control of the ball and it’s always enjoyable to play this game when that happens.
“The streak is a little hard to fathom even for myself. That’s some good going. It’s something I’ll store away in the memory banks and use to my advantage down the road.” McIlroy, who said he was again feeling unwell this morning, did his bulk of scoring in the back nine, coming in in 31 shots.
When asked about Donald’s streak, McIlroy quipped: “Well, if you look at it logically, it means he’s due a bogey! So hopefully, that may be the case.
“But I am looking forward to it. I think everyone was looking forward to No1 and No2 duel tomorrow, and that’s the way it’s panned out.
“I know I’m excited about it, and I’m sure a lot of people are. So, it will be a great way to finish the 2012 European Tour season.” And while McIlroy said he was hoping to take advantage of his phenomenal length off the tee, Donald said he was not even going to try and compete with the 23-year-old in that area of the game.
“I guess you have to sort of feel like you’re taking advantage of it. There’s no point in hitting those big drives up the middle of the fairway if you can’t make birdies from them,” said McIlroy, who has won four tournaments this year.
“I’ve driven the ball really well this week and hopefully I can continue to do that tomorrow and give myself a little bit of an advantage off the tee.” Donald, who is looking to win his fourth title of the year, said: “I know my own game and I know it is different to Rory’s. He’s a power player and obviously he’s got a great short game, as well. I can’t go out and try to hit the ball harder or anything like that. I just have to play my own game and not get ahead of myself.” India’s Jeev Milkha Singh carded the lowest round of the day — an eight-under par 64 that matched the course record.
Singh later dedicated his round to his 76-year-old mother, Nirmal Milkha Singh, who has been in the ICU the last two days back home in Chandigarh after falling down and smashing her knee and the fibula.
“She really is a brave heart,” said Singh who made nine birdies and a bogey. “She told me to go out there today and play well, and I said, yes, let’s try to give it a good shot and I did.” The tournament is the season-ending championship on the European Tour and only the top-60 players in the Money List qualify for it.
Morata misses out on Spain World Cup squad
MADRID: Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata was left out of Spain’s World Cup squad, announced on Monday.
Morata paid the price for a disappointing debut season in the Premier League as Spain coach Julen Lopetegui picked Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno up front, along with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.
“The decision is always difficult because of the talent of the players we have,” Lopetegui said.
“We have opted for three other players who had different assets and including four players up front was not something we wanted to do.”
Two more Chelsea players also missed out as Marcos Alonso and Cesc Fabregas were not included in the 23-man group.
Morata’s absence was the stand-out decision, however, even if it was not an entirely surprising one given the 25-year-old’s dramatic dip in form.
After scoring seven goals in his first seven games for Chelsea, a back injury seemed to affect his confidence. Morata has scored only three times in 22 games since the turn of the year.
“I’ve talked to the players I had to talk to,” Lopetegui said. “I’m not going to name anybody, but there are players who had to find out from me that they were not going to be on the list.”
In contrast, Aspas and Moreno have been in excellent form for Celta Vigo and Valencia respectively, with Aspas the top Spanish scorer in La Liga on 22 goals.
Costa is expected to start when Spain open up against Portugal in Group B on June 15 but Aspas, with his speed and direct running, remains an attractive option.
Alonso only made his debut in a friendly against Argentina in March and lost out to Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal. Fabregas fell behind Spain’s impressive wealth of options in midfield, which will include Sergio Busquets, Saul Niguez, Koke, Thiago Alcantara, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Isco, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez.
Manchester United’s David de Gea was included as expected, along with fellow goalkeepers Pepe Reina and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta did make it in, as did Monreal. Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Nacho and Jordi Alba complete Spain’s group of defenders.
“I’ve had several doubts, making a list of 23 is very difficult,” Lopetegui said. “But we have decided this was the most balanced decision and the one we think will help us most at the World Cup.”