Lowry takes 3-shot lead into final round in Abu Dhabi

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Shane Lowry of Ireland shakes hands with Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa at the end of round three of the Abu Dhabi Championship. (AP Photo)
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Shane Lowry of Ireland putts on the 18th green in round three of the Abu Dhabi Championship. (AP Photo)
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Shane Lowry of Ireland plays a bunker shot on the 17th hole in round three of the Abu Dhabi Championship. (AP Photo)
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Lee Westwood of England on the 14th hole in round three of the Abu Dhabi Championship. (AP Photo)
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Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa plays a shot on the 16th hole in round three of the Abu Dhabi Championship. (AP Photo)
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Richard Sterne of South Africa tees off on the 11th hole in round three of the Abu Dhabi Championship. (AP Photo)
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Ian Poulter of England on the 10th hole in round three of the Abu Dhabi Championship. (AP Photo)
Updated 18 January 2019
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Lowry takes 3-shot lead into final round in Abu Dhabi

  • Lowry shoots 5-under 67 in third round to extend lead to three strokes
  • Lowry made seven birdies to tie the best round of the day and stay on course for a wire-to-wire victory

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates: Shane Lowry kept up his brilliant scoring on the par-3 holes at the Abu Dhabi Championship in shooting a 5-under 67 in the third round to extend his lead to three strokes on Friday.
For the third straight day, the Irishman made birdie on the each of the short Nos. 7, 12, and 15 holes to strengthen his bid for a first victory in 3 1/2 years. His last win was in 2015 at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
“I’ve been hitting some lovely iron shots,” said Lowry, who was on 17-under 199 overall. “It just so happens that I’ve hit them on the par threes.”
Richard Sterne of South Africa was the only player within four strokes of Lowry after a round of 69, which included his first and only bogey of the week. Sterne chipped in for eagle at the par-5 10th hole for one of the best shots of a breezy day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club when conditions were the hardest all week.
Sterne has had to wait even longer for a win, with his last of his six overall coming in 2013.
“Maybe there’s some magic left in me,” Sterne said.
Ian Poulter sent a 3-wood approach to 10 feet and rolled in the putt for eagle at No. 18 for a 69 to lift him into third place outright on 12 under, five shots off the lead. He will play in the next-to-last group with former winner Pablo Larrazabal (68, for 11 under).
Lowry, who tied the course record with a 62 in the first round, tied the best score of the third round and remained on course for a wire-to-wire victory. That would lift him back into the world’s top 50 and get him into golf’s showpiece events in 2019.
He is back playing on the European Tour after losing his US PGA Tour card last year and slipping to No. 75 in the rankings.
“I’m not going to say I feel invincible because we all know that this game is not easy, and it can jump up and bite you when you least expect it,” Lowry said.
In attacking the par 3s, he is 8 under in 12 holes. Nine of his 21 birdies this week have come on the course’s four short holes.
His bunker play has also been impressive, no more so than on No. 17 when he chipped out of the sand at the right of the green to within 2 feet to save par — just when Sterne was making a run at the lead.
Moments later, Sterne — who teed off on No. 18 just two shots back — miscued his second shot into a bunker that was left and well short of the green. After chipping onto the green, Sterne saw his birdie putt lip out.
Three-time major champion Brooks Koepka, who has a chance to return to No. 1 in the world this week, mixed five birdies with three bogeys for a 70 and was eight strokes behind alongside Lee Westwood (73).
Dustin Johnson was 13 shots off the lead after a 72.
Another shot back was Tommy Fleetwood (72), whose hopes of a third straight title in Abu Dhabi looked to be over.


Arsenal open US tour with 3-0 friendly win in Colorado

Updated 16 July 2019
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Arsenal open US tour with 3-0 friendly win in Colorado

LOS ANGELES: Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli scored in his Arsenal debut Monday as the English Premier League club launched their pre-season tour of the US with a 3-0 friendly win over the Colorado Rapids.

Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka also scored for the Gunners, who cruised to victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in suburban Denver.

Martinelli, the 18-year-old forward signed from Ituano on July 2, was given a surprise start in attack by Unai Emery and sent an early chance wide.

Saka, 17, was an energetic presence and put Arsenal up 1-0 in the 13th minute as he collected a through-ball from Eddie Nketiah.

Another teenager — 18-year-old Olayinka —  doubled the score in the 29th, seizing a stray pass from defense and racing in to fire into the top left corner of the net.

Martinelli, having missed his early chance, capped the scoring in the 61st when he slotted home a cross from close range.

The Rapids, in the midst of the Major League Soccer season, fielded a mostly reserve side that featured several players from the lower-rung Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

Arsenal, too, started a reserve team as they begin their build up to the Premier League season after again failing to secure a Champions League berth.

The tour has not started without controversy. Captain Laurent Koscielny refused to travel to the US, and a group of influential Arsenal supporters’ organizations published a statement on Monday hitting out at Stan Kroenke’s “passive ownership.”

Under a hashtag “WeCareDo You” the statement decried a “soulless” atmosphere at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and a lack of transfer strategy.

Kroenke, who began investing in the club in 2007 through his company Kroenke Sports Enterprises and took full ownership in 2018, also owns the Rapids as well as the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams.