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Henrik Stenson’s defence of his title in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai is still on course with just 18 holes of the 2014 European Tour season remaining, but the Swede was caught at the top of the leaderboard by Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello in the third round at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Stenson, who led by two shots at the halfway mark, posted a bogey-free round of 68 to move to 14 under par in The Race to Dubai finale, matching the clubhouse target set by Cabrera-Bello who finished with four birdies in his closing five holes for a superb seven under par round of 65.

Cabrera-Bello’s card was also bogey free following a clinical display on the greens, where the two-time European Tour winner had 15 single putts during his 18 holes.

Englishman Justin Rose is three shots adrift of the leading pair on 11 under par following a round of 68, while Thorbjørn Olesen reached 12 under with a birdie on the 17th hole, but found the water twice on the next hole to finish with a double bogey for a round of 69 and a 10 under par total.

He is tied in fourth place with Frenchman Victor Dubuisson (67), Englishman Tyrell Hatton (68) and World Number One Rory McIlroy, who carded four birdies in his opening 11 holes before dropping all of those shots with back-to-back double bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes. He recovered with birdies on the 14th and 18th holes for a two under par round of 70, and will need to come from four shots back if he is to add the DP World Tour Championship title to the Race to Dubai trophy he will lift on Sunday afternoon.

Key player quotes

Rafa Cabrera-Bello: “It was a very special round for me today. I’m really, really pleased with the score, and obviously with the good finish. I actually felt I didn’t play great today. I had to work really, really hard, especially at the beginning. But I managed to hang in there and shot three under on the front nine when I could have easily shot two or three over, which was very good. The short game and putting were unbelievable, probably the best day of my life for short game. I know when I play very good, I really believe I can beat anyone. I’ve done it before to prove it to myself. So I’m just going to try to enjoy it, and if it happens, great. If it doesn’t happen, then I’m still going to put up a good fight.”

Henrik Stenson: “It’s been a solid year, but I haven’t got a trophy yet, so that would really rack it up and make me go on the Christmas break with a very positive feeling. There is still a lot of golf to play, and Rafa seems to be on fire so he’s going to be a tough match tomorrow. There are still a bunch of guys two, three, four shots behind that could get on a hot streak and catch us.”

Rory McIlroy: “It was just a bad swing on 12 but it was annoying to follow up a double with another one on 13. So I was a little frustrated but it was nice to get a couple back on the last few holes. At least keep myself within touch going into tomorrow. I’ll try to get off to a fast start tomorrow, get off to the start that I got off to on Thursday, put some pressure on them and see what happens. But yeah, I can’t afford to stay patient tomorrow. I need to go and get some birdies from the off and see where I can go from there.”

Complete third round scores (par 72)

202 H Stenson (Swe) 68 66 68, R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 73 64 65,

205 J Rose (Eng) 71 66 68,

206 R McIlroy (Nir) 66 70 70, V Dubuisson (Fra) 71 68 67, T Olesen (Den) 67 70 69, T Hatton (Eng) 70 68 68,

207 R Karlsson (Swe) 71 68 68, M Warren (Sco) 71 71 65, J Luiten (Ned) 70 69 68, D Willett (Eng) 69 67 71, B Grace (RSA) 72 67 68,

209 K Broberg (Swe) 70 67 72, R Fisher (Eng) 69 73 67, P Larrazábal (Esp) 71 69 69, H Otto (RSA) 71 68 70, G Coetzee (RSA) 70 70 69, J Donaldson (Wal) 72 70 67, A Sullivan (Eng) 73 69 67, S Lowry (Irl) 66 71 72, T Bjørn (Den) 71 69 69,

210 B Wiesberger (Aut) 72 70 68, S Dyson (Eng) 73 70 67, L Oosthuizen (RSA) 69 71 70, T Fleetwood (Eng) 69 74 67,

211 F Molinari (Ita) 73 69 69, S Garcia (Esp) 73 69 69, S Gallacher (Sco) 72 68 71, R Ramsay (Sco) 67 69 75, E Pepperell (Eng) 76 69 66, T Jaidee (Tha) 72 72 67, D Howell (Eng) 71 67 73,

212 E Molinari (Ita) 69 74 69, E Els (RSA) 75 67 70, D Fichardt (RSA) 72 68 72, R Wattel (Fra) 71 70 71,

213 L Donald (Eng) 76 66 71, W Ormsby (Aus) 73 71 69, M Jiménez (Esp) 71 73 69, C Schwartzel (RSA) 72 71 70,

214 A Levy (Fra) 71 72 71, M Siem (Ger) 76 66 72, G McDowell (Nir) 72 70 72, T Aiken (RSA) 76 66 72, J Blixt (Swe) 70 74 70, I Poulter (Eng) 75 69 70,

215 O Fisher (Eng) 72 70 73, E Grillo (Arg) 68 75 72, N Colsaerts (Bel) 73 72 70, M Kaymer (Ger) 72 69 74, L Westwood (Eng) 70 71 74,

216 B Koepka (USA) 78 68 70, R Sterne (RSA) 71 74 71,

217 F Zanotti (Par) 73 72 72,

218 M Ilonen (Fin) 74 76 68,

219 O Wilson (Eng) 75 72 72,

220 M Baldwin (Eng) 75 74 71,

221 M Hoey (Nir) 73 78 70, D Lipsky (USA) 76 75 70,

222 M Manassero (Ita) 75 72 75

Source: European Tour

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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