Golf: Swede takes a healthy lead

MAYBE Robert Karlsson is right. Too much time watching the leaderboards can make you wonder how a bunch of sick, injured and even sleepy golfers can be playing so well, not to mention when all those major champions are going to make a major move.

No, much better to ignore the whole lot. By doing so Karlsson, with a third-round 67, took a two-shot lead at 18 under par in the Dubai Desert Classic. The good news is that the two previous occasions he has been in front at this stage the 28-year-old Swede has gone on to victory.

The less than cheerful news (for Karlsson) is that the leaderboard is stuffed fuller of delicious morsels than a box of Belgian chocolates. Ignacio Garrido, the Spanish Ryder Cup player, was two strokes back, with Jose Maria Olazabal and Ernie Els three behind, Ian Woosnam on 14 under and Greg Norman one further back.

Olazabal and Woosnam both scored rounds of 65, seven under. For the Welshman, the first 45 holes of the tournament were calm enough, in contrast to the 30 minutes before his tea-time on Thursday when his alarm clock, mistakenly set for an hour too late, finally went off.

But an inward half of 31 with six birdies left Woosnam with a chance to capture a title he should have claimed last year. Then, Woosie sank his approach in the water at the last and then lost a play-off to Richard Green. Now he said: "I haven't played my best golf, but I am scoring well thanks to an old putter I have started using again."

Olazabal's back nine was even more dramatic, consisting of six birdies, two pars and a bogey. Still suffering from a throat infection which had eased but was still severe, Olazabal produced a heroic performance as when he returned after 18 months away from the game here a year ago and also shot a 65 in the third round. "It is going to be difficult to win taking into account my condition but also the number of players close to the lead," he said.

If this title is destined for a player who almost did not compete in the event then Olazabal and Woosnam are not the only contenders. Paul McGinley, with a pulled rib cartilage, needed painkillers before shooting a 64 to get to 12 under par. Fittingly for a man sponsored by Bupa, he has had intensive treatment and managed to find an extra 30 yards on his game yesterday.

"Rest is what it needs, but I can play on without doing any permanent damage - it is just a matter of how much pain you can stand," the Irishman said.

After eight previous visits to this tournament, the players have come to know every sand dune of the Emirates course. The scoring has always been low, Els and Fred Couples holding the tournament record with a total of 268, 20 under par. Colin Montgomerie was 18 under in winning two years ago, but after three rounds of his season's debut, the Scot is well off the pace at seven under.

"This is a putting contest and I have not putted well," Monty said. "It's disappointing that there is less rough than in previous years and also that they have put some of the tees forward." He had a point. Only four of the 83 weekend qualifiers are over par after three rounds. Birdie fest or not, the quality of the leaderboard promises an exciting denouement today.

News
Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
i100
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Damon Albarn is starting work on a new West End musical
artsStar's 'leftfield experimental opera' is turning mainstream
Life and Style
Paul and his father
artsPaul Carter wants to play his own father in the film of his memoirs
Sport
Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
Members of the public are invited to submit their 'sexcapades' to Russell T Davies' new series Tofu
tv
News
Sky's Colin Brazier rummages through an MH17 victim's belongings live on air
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
arts + ents'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
Extras
indybest
News
i100... and no one notices
Arts and Entertainment
Friends reunited: Julian Ovenden, Richard Cant and Matt Bardock in rehearsals for the Donmar revival of 'My Night
with Reg'
theatrePoignancy of Kevin Elyot's play being revived just after his death
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

Training/Learning and Development Coordinator -London

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...

Year 5/6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The successful applicant w...

Year 5/6 Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The JobThe successful ...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor