Tommy Fleetwood stays in contention as Justin Rose falters on 18th

Defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick claimed the halfway lead in the DP World Tour Championship after Tommy Fleetwood ensured the Race to Dubai battle would go down to the wire.

Fitzpatrick carded a second consecutive 67 at Jumeirah Golf Estates to reach 10 under par, a shot ahead of the man he beat into second place last year, English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton.

Justin Rose, who would overhaul Fleetwood if he scored a remarkable third consecutive victory tomorrow, was a shot further back alongside Julian Suri and Kiradech Aphibarnrat after a costly three-putt bogey on the 18th.

That meant Fleetwood had regained the upper hand — albeit by a narrow margin — in his bid to end the season as European number one. A superb 65 lifted him 35 places in the 60-man field and to within two shots of Rose on six under.

“Today was pressure in a different way,” said Fleetwood, who has a lead of 256,738 points over Rose. “If I had shot level par or one under, everything is completely out of my hands. I’ve kept myself in with a chance of the tournament, but it’s only a big round if I keep it going. I don’t know whether Justin will be bothered or not. He is so strong mentally and he knows what he’s doing.”

Fleetwood finished his round just moments before Rose started his and after four birdies and a bogey in his first 15 holes, the former US Open champion needed to birdie the 18th for a share of the lead.

However, Rose missed the green and three-putted following a poor chip to end the day on a disappointing note.

“The three-wood on the last was an unforced error but then to compound it with a three-putt was very frustrating,” Rose said. “Every permutation is still in play. All I had to do was give myself a chance going into the weekend and that’s what I’ve done.”

Fitzpatrick’s 67 included five birdies and an eagle and ensured he has not been outside the top eight after his last 10 rounds in the event.

“I’ve got nothing to lose,” said the 23-year-old... If I can sneak in under the radar and win that would be great.”

Hatton was on course to equal or better Rose’s course record of 62, as he holed out from 144 yards on the fifth for an eagle and eight birdies, only to bogey the last. The world No 17 did the same in the final round 12 months ago to lose out to Fitzpatrick.

After having to settle for a 63 this time he said: “It’s a pretty bitter pill to swallow on 18. That hole seems to hate me. Hopefully, one day I’ll actually play it well.”


Lifestyle

Dónal Clancy is a musician from An Rinn in Co Waterford. He will perform the music of his late father, Liam Clancy, in a special online solo performance on Thursday at 7pm as part of this year's Clonmel Junction Festival.Question of Taste: Dónal Clancy

BETWEEN 1973 and early 1975, John Lennon split with Yoko Ono, took up with his assistant May Pang and embarked on a period of intense creativity and outrageous behaviour. Lennon later described this time as his “lost weekend”.Rufus Wainwright has returned a new man

Stan O’Sullivan tells Ellie O’Byrne about the genre-busting album from 2007 that probably doesn’t get the recognition it deservesB-Side the Leeside - Cork’s Greatest Records: Louder & Clearer from Stanley Super 800

In recent times one of the most recurring and troubling conversations I have with teenagers, in therapy, is around their use of marijuana. Often parents seek out therapy because they have noticed a dramatic shift in their child’s behaviour.Richard Hogan: Beware of making light of your teen's marijuana use

More From The Irish Examiner