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.


Jurgen Klopp tells Liverpool to beware of Bayern Munich ahead of Champions League clash

Updated 19 February 2019
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Jurgen Klopp tells Liverpool to beware of Bayern Munich ahead of Champions League clash

  • Reds boss worried about resurgent German giants ahead of second-round first-leg clash.
  • Bayern defender Joshua Kimmich claims Liverpool are the favorites.

LONDON: Jurgen Klopp has warned his Liverpool side they will have to be at their very best if they are to beat Bayern Munich.
The Reds head into the Champions League clash as slight favorites after months at the top of the Premier League. But having drawn the German giants in the second round, Klopp has told his players they have to keep their feet on the ground worthy could end up out of the competition before it really gets going.
“It’ll be very tough,” there Liverpool manager said.
“(Bayern are) only two points off Dortmund in the domestic league and have been consistent finalists and semifinalists.
“They’re a world class team but at the same time we’re confident we can cause them problems.
“They’ve got world class players so we know how difficult it will be.
“Everyone has to be at 100 percent otherwise we’ll get nothing from the game.
“Having said that we have confidence we have the ability to hurt them, and it’s up to us to show that.”

After a tough start to the season Bayern are up to second in the Bundesliga. 


Liverpool went al the way to the final last year, before losing to Real Madrid. But the momentum created by that surprise run has been maintained in the Premier League and another trip to the Champions League knockout stages.
Bayern currently lie second in the Bundesliga and are starting to look like their old levels agains after a tough start to the season. For Klopp, who managed Dortmund before arriving at Anfield, that could spell trouble for the Reds.
“After six years of pretty much dominating the league it was clear this year was going to be a tougher situation.
“It’s actually still the same, being at the top of the league and still in the last-16 of the Champions League.
“It’s a normal situation with a high quality team.
“Munich’s situation, from my point of view, makes them even more dangerous and even more of a threat from my point of view.
“This is a competition, in Europe, where they always do well.”
For the Germans the role of underdogs suits them perfectly. At least that is according to Joshua Kimmich.
The defender said: “Liverpool are the favorites.
“They have lost one league game all season and have let in only 15 goals. But when you look at us, we are not as consistent as before.”
Before a ball has been kicked Bayern did receive some good news. Winger Franck Ribery was originally left out of the squad to play at Anfield and did not fly with his teammates. But after becoming a father, the Frenchman has now decided to join up with the squad and will be available for selection. One man who definitely will not make the pitch is Jerome Boateng. The central defender is suffering from a stomach virus.
The Bavarians will also have to wait until Tuesdays to determine whether winger Kingsley Coman will be able to play after picking up an ankle injury on Friday.
The Frenchman scored twice but was injured in the final stages of their 3-2 win at Augsburg.

KEY MAN — ROBERTO FIRMINO 

Of Liverpool’s brilliant attacking trio the Brazilian is perhaps the most underrated and important. When he plays well the Reds usually do likewise. He links up the play well, settling up as many goals as he scores. Liverpool will be hoping he turns up with his A-game tonight, because if he does Bayern Munich could be in for a  long night. 

ARAB NEWS PREDICTS

For once Bayern are not having it all their own way in the Bundesliga. But they are improving and giving Borussia Dortmund something to think about in the race for the title. But home advantage will be key and a resurgent Reds will prove too strong for a Bayern defence that has, on occasions this campaign, looked less than watertight. The only question is can Liverpool get a decisive lead and put the tie to bed before the second leg?