It did not take long for Justin Rose to lose the lead when he resumed the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship today – but it was a surprise who took top spot off him.
While Rose three-putted the opening green from only 15 feet to slip to seven under par, Australian Andrew Dodt charged from joint 36th place to eight under.
The 26-year-old birdied four of the first six holes, turned in 32 and then had four more birdies in a row from the short 12th.
It gave Dodt a one-stroke advantage over not only Rose, but also Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, Welshman Jamie Donaldson and also New Zealander Michael Campbell, whose rebuilding of his career continued with a hat-trick of birdies from the second.
Rose had become favourite for the title following the failure of world top two Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods to survive the halfway cut.
McIlroy, in his first week with Nike clubs, crashed out by four strokes despite abandoning one of the company’s putters in the second round to revert to an old one, while Woods was on his way home all because of a two-shot penalty for a wrong drop on the fifth hole.
At least the Northern Irishman had some good news at the start of the weekend, his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki advancing to the last 16 of the Australian Open tennis with a 6-4 6-3 victory over Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko.
The situation changed again when Dodt, needing to par in for a best-of-the-week 64, bogeyed the 475-yard 16th.
Fernandez-Castano moved out in front instead when he made a six-foot birdie putt on the long second, but Rose, having also pushed his drive into the right-hand rough, had to settle for a five.
Rose hit back with 15-foot birdie putts on the fourth and fifth and at nine under was one ahead again.
Donaldson, Olesen and Fernandez-Castano were eight under, while Dodt birdied the 567-yard last to set the clubhouse target on seven under. He was round in a joint best-of-the-week 65.