Olesen surges out in front at Ras Al Khaimah Championship

Thorbjørn Olesen carded a sublime third-round 63 to take a commanding lead into the final day of the Ras Al Khaimah Championship as the Dane reached 22 under par at Al Hamra Golf Club.

The seven-time DP World Tour winner finished day three four shots clear of compatriot Rasmus Højgaard, with France’s Frederic Lacroix two further back in third.

Olesen began the day a shot off the lead but came storming out the blocks with birdies at the first, third, fifth and sixth. A missed short putt on the seventh cost the 34-year-old a bogey but he tapped in for another gain at the par-five eighth to turn in 32.

Approaches to seven feet on the tenth and six feet on the 12th yielded further gains before he drained a 20 footer on the 13th and tapped in for a third birdie of the week on the par-five next.

Olesen had to visit the drop zone after a wayward second at the last but got up-and-down for a tenth birdie of the day to establish a dominant lead.

Olesen had carded a brilliant 62 on Friday but said after his round: “I thought today I played a lot better (than yesterday).

“I hit a lot more fairways today, and that gave me the chance to be aggressive with the second shots. It was nice to find so many fairways. It was a great round again.”

Asked what the plan was for Sunday, he added: “I’ll play roughly the same. You have a guy like Rasmus behind you and you know anything can happen with his firepower.

“You have to keep focused, do your own thing. It’s never going to be easy but I’m going to try my hardest.”

Having won on six of the seven occasions he has led after 54 holes on the DP World Tour, Olesen is confident he can keep any nerves in check as he looks to re-enter the winner’s circle almost a year after his last victory.

“I feel pretty comfortable in that position,” he continued. “There’s always going to be nerves, but it’s how you deal with it. I enjoy being in that position. That’s what you practice for as a little kid, to have the chance to win on a Sunday on the DP World Tour.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun tomorrow. It would mean a lot.  “I have both my kids here and my wife. That would make it a lot more fun if I could do it tomorrow. It’s nice to have them when you come off after a round and see the kids.”

Højgaard mixed five birdies with a single bogey in his 68, while Lacroix made three birdies and an eagle in an outward 31 before signing for a 66.

“I played okay today,” said Højgaard. “A couple of bad shots here and there. I struggled to find the pace on the greens. I felt like they were slower today. That annoyed me a bit out there, spending so much energy on trying to figure that out. It was nice to make some birdies on the back nine and I feel like I’m in contention.”

South Africa’s Brandon Stone, Dane Marcus Helligkilde and Spain’s Angel Hidalgo share fourth on 15 under, meanwhile the UAE’s Joshua Grenville-Wood posted another solid 68 to reach 13 under for the tournament, tied in 12th place with Callum Shinkwin and Yannick Paul.

Fans can enjoy free general admission to watch the final round of the Ras Al Khaimah Championship and can register for tickets here. Spectators can also upgrade their experience with tickets available for the Championship Chalet, which overlooks the 18th green or the Clubhouse Terrace.

As well as watching the DP World Tour stars on the course, there’s an array of exciting activities available for spectators aside from the golf. The Championship Village houses a plethora of food trucks from the UAE’s favourite eateries, while fun children’s activities and live music keep the whole family entertained.

To keep up to date with tournament news, follow @rakgolfchamps on Instagram. 

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