Tommy Fleetwood (10/3 – Tournament Outright) admitted he endured a “hard day” despite shooting himself into contention in the Saudi International ahead of Sunday’s final round.
The Englishman ended up two shots behind American leader Harold Varner III (7/4) and one adrift of Spain’s Adri Arnaus (7/2), who are on -12 and -11 respectively, after he went round the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in 67 on Saturday.
Fleetwood says he was pleased with his performance, aside from an opening bogey, and did better overall than he expected as he moved two shots clear of Cameron Smith (8/1) in fourth at the end of the third day in Saudi Arabia.
He said: “On days when you know it’s going to be really hard, you don’t really want to be giving too many shots away, especially the start.
“But after that, played really, really well. Scored well. Made more birdies than I thought I would do today probably. Just hit a lot of really good iron shots and gave myself chances. It was hard all day.”
Fleetwood managed six birdies in total in his third round although three bogeys restricted him to a three-under card for his 67.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson (8/1) is still in with a shout as he sits tied-fifth with Australia’s Wade Ormsby (45/1) and Ryosuke Kinoshita (45/1), with England’s Steve Lewton (80/1) among a group in tied-eighth position along with Bubba Watson (45/1) and Xander Schauffele (16/1).
Paul Casey (125/1), meanwhile, shot the best round of the day, signing for a 64 to take him to -4 for the tournament, eight shots off the lead. Casey birdied five of his last eight holes and he admitted afterwards he was pleased with his response when he needed it most later on.
He said: “When I’ve had an important par save, I’ve not really been making those putts or pulling off the shot. Today that was the difference.”
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