Date: February 01, 2009
Author: Sportal and PA Sport

Green well placed in Dubai

Former champion Richard Green has top spot in his sights after a blistering second round in the fog-affected Dubai Desert Classic. Green is in a tie for second thanks to his second-round 63 which consisted of nine birdies including four in a row on the front nine between holes two and five. Tournament leader Rory McIlroy is at minus 15, two strokes ahead of the Australian. Play has been suspended with Green eleven holes into his third round after players were forced to make up for lost time following severe delays caused by intense fog. Fellow Aussie Scott Strange is three shots further back after a second round one-under-par 71 while New Zealand&aposs Mark Brown is at minus five following a 73 and Brett Rumford steadied with a 70 to move to minus three. First round leader McIlroy had earlier snatched the second round lead with an eagle three on the 18th green before ending his day with a second, this time on the 10th to move onto three under in fading light. The world No. 39 has yet to turn the hype, which has seen new Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie pick out McIlroy out as a potential candidate for Celtic Manor next year, into a professional breakthrough after suffering two play-off defeats last year. But in the form which has seen him record top-five finishes in his last five events, it is surely closer than ever. “It would be a huge first victory, it&aposs one of the best events on Tour. For this to be my first win, if I could pull it off, it would be absolutely fantastic,” said McIlroy who only turns 20 in May. “But I have just got the 11th tee shot in the morning on my mind and that&aposs all I can do, just think about that and see what happens tomorrow.” “I think I have learnt a lot from those experiences. It will stand me in good stead and hopefully if I keep playing the way I am, I&aposll definitely be able to go close.” McIlroy rates the third round eagle as the best of the two and rightly so as he plunged a five iron to within two feet for a simple tap-in after earlier holing from 25 feet from the fringes of the 18th green following a cautious approach into the dangerous final green at Emirates Golf Club. But with playing partner Oosthuizen, the runner-up at the last two events in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, and 1997 winner Green leading the chase, McIlroy is not getting carried away with another mammoth day ahead tomorrow. But the ambitious Northern Irishman is looking forward to the prospect of another final day battle so soon after November&aposs play-off defeat in Hong Kong. “Louis made birdie on seven just before me and I knew I had to just grind out the putt and I holed it for par which was nice,” he added. “It was then a great way to finish and puts me into a great position going into tomorrow morning.” Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Strange, Thomas Levet and Abu Dhabi winner Paul Casey are also all well placed at 10 under with former champions Robert-Jan Derksen and Dubai-based Henrik Stenson in touching distance at nine under. Frenchman Levet was able to sign for a third round six under 66 and was only one of 17 out of the 68 who made the cut to complete their third rounds. Third Round of the Dubai Desert Classic (Play suspended) -15: Rory McIlroy 64 68 (after 10 holes) -13: Richard Green (Australia) 71 63 (11), Louis Oosthuizen 68 65 (10) -11: Justin Rose 68 66 (10) -10: Thomas Levet 73 67 66, Scott Strange (Australia) 69 71 (16), Paul Casey 68 68 (12), Martin Kaymer 70 67 (12) -9: Robert-Jan Derksen 70 69 (14), Gregory Havret 67 68 (11), Henrik Stenson 68 65 (10) -8: Ross Fisher 72 69 67, Anders Hansen 71 71 (16), Robert Karlsson 65 71 (12), Anthony Wall 70 68 (12), Gonzalo Fdez-Castano 66 70 (11), Sergio Garcia 70 66 (11) -7: Martin Erlandsson 69 72 69, Colin Montgomerie 70 70 70, Miguel Angel Jimenez 72 70 (15), Peter Hanson 71 67 (12), Alexander Noren 67 71 (12), :Jeev Milkha Singh 69 68 (12) Also: -5: Mark Brown (New Zealand) 70 73 (10) -3: Brett Rumford (Australia) 73 70 (11)