Reed, Fitzpatrick, Canter Tied at the Top in Dubai
December 12, 2020
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Patrick Reed played what he described as a "sloppy" round of golf Saturday on Day 3 of the DP World Championship, and the 1-under-par 71 that he posted dropped him into a tie for first place. But it could have been worse. Had it not been for his resourcefulness around the greens, he might have dropped out of the top 10.
Instead, he needed only three putts on the last four holes at the Jumeirah Golf Estates course, and his 54-hole total of 205 has him sharing the lead with Matthew Fitzpatrick and Laurie Canter. Fitzpatrick, who won this tournament four years ago and always seems to play well at Jumeirah, shot 69. Canter had a 68.
Four other players -- Lee Westwood, Viktor Hovland, Robert MacIntyre and Adri Arnaus -- are all one stroke behind in a tie for fourth. Hovland, who is only 23, is a former U.S. Amateur champion, and he's won twice on the PGA Tour since turning professional in the summer of 2019. The most recent of those victories came last week in the Mayakoba Golf Classic. He and MacIntyre both shot 66, the low scores of the day. Arnaus was next with a 67.
The World Championship is the last event on the European Tour's 2019-20 schedule, and the winner will receive $3 million. If the winner is Reed, he will also win the Race to Dubai, a season-long competition, much like the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup, and that would be worth another $2 million.
But there are a lot of contenders with strong credentials going into the final round, including the 47-year-old Westwood, who has finished the year as the European Tour's No. 1 player twice, in 2000 and '09. He shot 68 on Saturday.
Reed came into this week ranked No. 1 in the 2019-20 Race to Dubai standings. If he ends up there on Sunday, he would be the first American to claim the crown.
The 30-year-old former Masters champion began Saturday with a two-shot lead over Fitzpatrick. He didn't make any bogeys on the front, but he made only one birdie, and the leader board began to get really crowded. At one point, there were seven players tied for the lead at 10 under par, and Reed wasn't one of them after he followed a bogey at the 476-yard, par-4 12th with another one at the 626-yard, par-5 14th.
His prospects did not improve when he hit his second shot into a bunker at the 15th (371 yards, par 4). But they brightened up considerably when he holed his bunker shot for a birdie.
A wayward tee shot at the 16th (486, par 4) forced him to lay up 70 yards short of the green, but his wedge shot from there was so close that he had only a tap-in for his par. At the 195-yard, par-3 17th, his tee shot nearly went in the water, and his pitch shot there was even better than the one the hole before, leaving him with another tap-in for par.
"The shot on 17 was fantastic," marveled Fitzgerald, who was paired with Reed. "Me and Billy (Fitzgerald's caddie, Billy Foster) were saying there was more chance of him making a 2 from there than a 4. Patrick's short game is phenomenal."
At the 620-yard, par-5 18th, Reed missed the fairway again and laid up to 90 yards. From there, he hit a wedge shot to 8 feet and made the putt for birdie.
Compare all of that to the Erik Van Rooyen played the last four holes on his way to a 70 and an aggregate of 211.
The fomer University of Minnesota star and winner of the 2012 State Amateur at Hastings CC birdied the par-5 second and par-4 third on Saturday. He parred the next three holes and then eagled the par-5 seventh and birdied the par-4 ninth for an outgoing 31 (5 under). Van Rooyen was still 5 under for the round and 8 under for the tournament when he arrived at the 15th tee.
Nos. 15 and 16 at Jumeriah have not been kind to the 30-year-old from South Africa this week. He bogeyed them both on Friday, and he bogeyed them both again on Saturday. He bogeyed the 17th, as well, and failed to birdie the par-5 18th. Basically, Van Rooyen played those last four holes more or less in the same way from tee to green that Reed played them, maybe even a little better. But he needed a total of eight putts on the four holes, five more than Reed needed, and took five more strokes on them than Reed did -- which is why Van Rooyen is six shots behind going into Sunday's final round, and in a tie for 15th place.
DP World Championship, Dubai
At Jumeirah Golf Estates
Par 72, 7,675 yards
T1. Patrick Reed 70-64-71--205
T1. Matthew Fitzpatrick 68-68-69--205
T1. Laurie Canter 71-66-68--205
T4. Lee Westwood 70-68-68--206
T4. Adri Arnaus 71-68-67--206
T4. Viktor Hovland 71-69-66--206
T4. Robert MacIntyre 68-72-66--206
8. Sami Valimaki 69-69-69--207
9. Danny Willett 72-67-69--208
T10. Tyrrell Hatton 69-68-72--209
T15. Erik Van Rooyen 68-73-70--211