Harrington in pole position to secure first title of the year
Sunday 21 January 2007
Padraig Harrington, the leader at the Abu Dhabi Championship, believes that he will be fully focused on his own game as he looks to secure his first title of 2007 when the final round gets under way today.
Last season's European Tour Order of Merit winner produced a sublime shot on the 18th yesterday that took him up to the green before making the putt for a birdie. That moved him to the top of the leaderboard with a four-under-par 68 for a 13-under 203 overall.
The Irishman's lead is a slender one, however, with the Swede Peter Hanson, who had the best round of the day with a six-under 66, the Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez and Shiv Kapur, of India, all just one shot behind him.
A confident Harrington said that he would not be looking at the scoreboard today to see how his competitors are faring.
"I'm not going to look at anyone or anything other than myself," said the Irishman. "I've done particularly well. I've played three rounds of golf this week and I've managed not to see a scoreboard once until the 18th green each day, so I certainly won't be looking at one individual out there.
"There are a couple of guys who can win this tournament, so I'm going to focus on my game and hopefully play nice and solidly and make them work hard to win it. I'm always trying to win, but the main thing is just to watch what I'm doing and let everybody else look after themselves. Sometimes it is good to keep your head down and play your own game."
The overnight leader, Wales's Phillip Price, who was grouped alongside Harrington and Kapur, made a nervy start to his third round with two bogeys in his first three holes. Two more on the 14th and 16th holes saw him slide down the leaderboard, but a birdie on the 18th means that he is just two shots off the lead on 11 under par.
The Englishman Paul Casey enjoyed his best round of the tournament so far to move on to 10 under par overall and back into contention. The 29-year-old had a faultless round that included five birdies for a five-under-par 67, and was delighted with his display.
"That was a good round," Casey said. "The goal was to get into double digits [under par] and I achieved that.
"It was a shame I didn't get another one at the last, but a combination of a poor stroke and a grainy green meant I missed it comfortably. But I'm in there with a shout now."
The tournament debutant Retief Goosen, of South Africa, made up for a disappointing display on Friday to join Casey on 10 under after a round of 68, with six birdies and two bogeys.
The defending champion, Chris DiMarco, enjoyed his best round so far to move on to a nine-under-par 207 overall. The 38-year-old American had made an indifferent start on his first nine holes, scoring a birdie on the ninth and making par on the rest, but three birdies on the back nine ensured he shot a four-under 68 to remain in touch with the leading pack going into the final day.
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