Rose takes control in Abu DhabiJanuary 19, 2013
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Justin Rose extended his lead at the Abu Dhabi Championship on Saturday, shooting a 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 a bogey, the Englishman had a stretch of six birdies over nine holes --including an approach shot on the ninth that rolled to four feet from the hole for birdie -- for an overall 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 7th 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 coming into Sunday.
"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 European Tour 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 tomorrow. I thought I was pretty aggressive today 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 on 208.
Several players made late charges to get themselves into contention, including Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee (66) with seven birdies -- opening and closing with two in a row -- to move fourth on 207.