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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory