"I couldn't believe it came down where it did" - Shane Lowry holds nerve after 18th hole mix-up
The Offaly native had a wobble on the 18th, but showed composure to close out with a par.
Back in 2019, Shane Lowry showed remarkable poise and clutch shooting to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Three years on, he is back in the mix again.
After three rounds at the Yas Island course, Lowry is joint second on -10. Scotland's Scott Jamieson is one clear of Lowry and, in a pleasing sight to Ryder Cup fans, the rejuvenated Thomas Pieters of Belgium.
183 yards into the wind...
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Shane Lowry on 18th hole mix-up
After a windy Friday saw many of the world's top players card high second round scores, it was slightly more settled today and Lowry went low. He carded a -5 round of 67 that had no dropped shots. That could have been so much different after a mix-up on the 18th tee - when Lowry and his caddy Brian 'Bo' Martin picked different targets from the tee box.
Given a target by Martin that was 30 yards away from what he had in mind, Lowry was not happy with his caddy, but had calmed down by the time he spoke with reporters. That was help by him getting a par on the last. Following his round, he said:
"Yeah, myself and Bo, we were aiming at the HSBC sign but his one was 30 yards right of the one I was looking at... New course, I thought I hit a perfect shot. I couldn't believe it came down where it did.
"It was a bad mistake to make because we shouldn't be doing it in that situation. I got very lucky and fortunate in the ice plant and made a good two-putt afterwards. Could have been a different story. I'm not sure I'd be standing here. I might be sitting in the locker room sulking right now.
"I'm happy with the way I've played overall. I'm really happy with the way the week is going and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Top prize in the tournament - along with the trophy and ranking points - is a winners' cheque for €1.33million. Viktor Hovland, Ian Poulter and Rafa Cabrero Bello are all within touching distance of the lead, so it will make for an exciting final day.
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow... Whoever I'm paired with tomorrow it will be a good day but there's one thing in my mind, to be standing here tomorrow with the trophy again.
"It's great for the first tournament of the year to be in contention. There's been plenty of times my first tournament of the year I've missed cuts ask stuff like that and it gets you off to really bad starts. It's nice to be where I am."
Elsewhere on the leaderboard, Padraig Harrington is -4, seven shots off the lead, while Rory McIlroy is -2. A struggling Collin Morikawa carded 71 but is still down on +2.