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Rose in control at Abu Dhabi

Justin Rose, teeing off on No. 14, sinks seven birdies in the third round and takes a two-stroke lead at 12-under 204 for the tournament.

Associated Press

Justin Rose, teeing off on No. 14, sinks seven birdies in the third round and takes a two-stroke lead at 12-under 204 for the tournament.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Justin Rose extended his lead at the Abu Dhabi Championship on Saturday, shooting 4-under 68 for a two-shot advantage over Jamie Donaldson of Wales and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark.

A day after top-ranked Rory McIlroy and second-ranked Tiger Woods missed the cut, the fifth-ranked Rose made his third round look easy with seven birdies. After three-putting on the first for bogey, the Englishman had a stretch of six birdies over nine holes — including an approach shot on the ninth that rolled to 4 feet from the hole for birdie — for an overall 12-under 204.

"Delighted about the day," said Rose, who has been at the top of the leaderboard all week. "I strengthened my lead, if you like, one to two shots. I guess that's always good."

Rose cooled down on the back nine, hitting errant drives on Nos. 13 and 17 that led to bogeys and reduced a four-shot lead to two. After Olesen (69) and Donaldson (69) birdied No. 18, Rose nearly chipped in on the same hole and finished with his seventh birdie.

"I was a little bit mad about the bogey at 17 because I didn't feel I did an awful lot wrong there," Rose said. "I've been very resilient and bounced back well."

Olesen and Donaldson struggled to make putts early but finished satisfied to be in the mix going into today.

"Very happy with the score, 3-under was great," Donaldson said. "A little bit scrappy at the start but (I) recovered really well in places."

Olesen, chasing his second PGA Europe win, said Rose would be tough to catch.

"It looks like he's playing really well but, if I can get some birdies in quickly, I think it can be exciting," said the 52nd-ranked Dane who is paired with Rose for the final round. "I'm going to try to be aggressive (today). I thought I was pretty aggressive (Saturday), but I didn't hole the putts I needed to."

Rose's playing partner Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain closed to within a shot of the leader after a birdie on the second. But he had trouble hitting the greens after that and fell back. He showed signs of recovery when he sank a 40-foot putt on the seventh, but his drive on No. 16 hit a cart path and bounced into the water for a costly bogey.

Fernandez-Castano finished four shots back and tied for fifth with Richie Ramsay (67) of Scotland and David Howell (68) of England at 208.

PGA: Scott Stallings opened a five-stroke lead in the Humana Challenge in La Quinta, Calif., holing a 20-foot downhill putt on the par-5 eighth hole for his second eagle of the round.

Stallings shot 9-under 63 to reach 22-under 194 after three days in perfect conditions in the Coachella Valley. The two-time PGA Tour winner played PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Private Course after opening with 66 on the Arnold Palmer Private Course — the site of today's final round — then shooting 65 at La Quinta Country Club.

John Rollins, Stallings' playing partner, was tied for second with Stewart Cink, Roberto Castro, Charles Howell and Charley Hoffman.

CHAMPIONS: David Frost shot 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Ka'upulehu-Kona, Hawaii. Frost had seven birdies to move to 14-under 130. John Cook sank a long chip for eagle on the par-4 18th to grab sole possession of second.

Rose in control at Abu Dhabi 01/19/13 [Last modified: Saturday, January 19, 2013 11:26pm]
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