Elvira goes low to lead UAE Challenge by two

Manuel Elvira will take a two shot lead into the final day of the UAE Challenge at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club after carding an impressive seven under par round of 65 on moving day.

The Spaniard birdied three of his opening four holes to take the solo lead having started his round two shots behind playing partner Craig Howie.

The 26-year-old registered eight birdies and just one bogey to top the leaderboard at 14 under par, two shots clear of Germany’s Maximilian Rottluff on 12 under par.

Elvira, who holed a 50 foot putt on the last to extend his advantage, made the most of favourable scoring conditions to shoot the second lowest round of the week, and was pleased to put himself in a position to contend.

“I hit some good shots throughout my round, except maybe the last few holes,” he said. “Even then, on 18, I didn’t hit the best shot and I was hoping for a two putt, but it went in so that’s one of those bonus shots.

“Today was good. It was an easier day I would say and less windy than the first couple of days. I had to make a few adjustments but I stuck to my game plan.”

Elvira is searching for his first win on the Challenge Tour having come close already this season. He finished in tenth place at the SDC Open in February before a tied second result at The Challenge presented by KGA, and he’s hoping to go one better tomorrow.

“It would mean a lot. I’ve been close a couple of times this season. I’m trying to knock on the door as much as I can, and I have to break it open.

“The plan is just to stick to what I’ve been doing. Be aggressive when I can be and be conservative when I have to.”

Rottluff surged up the leaderboard with a new course record 63 to get within two of Elvira. Two shots further back in third is Spaniard Ivan Cantero Gutierrez on ten under par, with overnight leader Howie in fourth on nine under par.

Road to Mallorca Number One Ugo Coussaud moved into contention with a four under par round of 68 to get to eight under par, where he’s joined by South African Jaco Prinsloo, England’s James Allan and Italian Matteo Manassero.

The back-to-back events in Abu Dhabi have been made possible due to the long-term partnership between the European Tour group and the Emirates Golf Federation, in addition to the support of the host venues Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, along with sponsors ARENA, Phoenix Capital and Al Laith.

The final round will get under way at 7:00am local time, with Elvira teeing it up in the final group alongside Rottluff and Cantero Gutierrez at 8:48am.

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