Shane Lowry retains lead heading into final round in Abu Dhabi

Shane Lowry retains lead heading into final round in Abu Dhabi

Richard Sterne was Lowry's nearest challenger on 14 under following his third-round 69, while Ian Poulter finished his third-round 69 with an eagle to head into the final day in third place on 12-under.

As Irishman Shane Lowry stayed on course for a wire-to-wire win - he leads by three shots - Forrest was pleased how he recovered from an eventful second-hole setback.

"I felt very comfortable out there today and I'm very happy with that", said Lowry, whose last win a regular event in the circuit came in the 2012 Portugal Masters, having made the breakthrough as an amateur in the Irish Open three years earlier.

After starting with a birdie on the par-five second hole, the 31-year-old Lowry unexpectedly made a bogey on the par-three fourth and was briefly caught at the top by Scotsman Scott Jamieson, who made a fast start with three birdies in four holes, and Sterne.

Sterne, meanwhile, has yet to make a bogey for the opening 36 holes.

'I started laughing when I birdied the last of them, it's fantastic to have played those nine holes in just 18 shots.' Lowry freely admits that one of the reasons why his career has not kicked on in recent years is because he has been too hard on himself - and that was certainly the case following that fateful US Open, where he coughed up a four shot lead. It just shows when I get myself in position, I can give myself chances and that's kind of what I need to do.

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"Perfect conditions this morning out there, and I just went down and did pretty much a lot of things right. I just tried to go out and play like I played", said Lowry, ranked 75th in the world.

"I'm not going to say I feel invincible (on the par-threes), because we all know that this game is not easy, and it can jump up and bite you when you least expect it".

Back-to-back birdies at the tenth and 11th repaired some of that damage before straying into another bunker led to a bogey at the par-3 12th. That's the way I play golf.

It has not been so straightforward for his compatriot Tommy Fleetwood, who held his nerve for a birdie at the 18th to make the cut. "I didn't convert as many as I would have liked, but I'm pretty happy to shoot 70, and to be in the lead going into the weekend is always nice".

"A bad iron shot at the 12th killed me mentally for a few holes", said the Aberdonian.