The season-ending DP World Tour Championship is set for an enthralling final round over the iconic Earth course with Englishman Danny Willett and American Patrick Reed tied for the lead on 14 under par on a day of low scoring at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Willett, who will be leading from the front after 54 holes for the first time since the 2017 Maybank Championship, posted his third successive round of five under par 65 as he searches for his first title since the 2016 Masters Tournament.
“It would be nice to get back in the winner’s circle,” said Willett. “There’s a lot of golf left, 18 holes. A lot can happen in 18 holes. I’m just happy with the golf game. The golf game is in good shape. The body is feeling good, and like I’ve said, it’s been a long old year with all the stuff that’s gone on and for this to be the last event I’m going to play in this year with a field this good is a real bonus. I’m going to go out and try and play some good golf tomorrow.”
Reed, who has also claimed the iconic Green Jacket at Augusta National in 2018, only managed to pick up one shot on the front nine but the American reeled off four birdies in six holes on the back nine to grab a slice of the lead.
“It means a lot to be in with a shout,” said Reed. “Just to be in the situation to be able to come over here and play, with the limited schedule that I play over here on The European Tour, and to have a chance to go out and finish the year off right and win a golf tournament, give myself a little early Christmas gift, a trophy, would be amazing.”
Jordan Smith kept alive his chances of a second European Tour win since graduating from the European Challenge Tour in 2016 with a three-under par 60, just one adrift of Willett and Reed at the top of the leaderboard.
Meanwhile, Lee Westwood’s hunt for back-to-back European Tour titles and a second DP World Tour Championship crown is well and truly on after a spellbinding seven under par 65 left the Englishman in a tie for fourth place, just two shots off the lead.
“I played great, I got off to a quick start, which I wanted to do,” said the 45-year-old. “I think experience is valuable, whatever you’re doing. Whenever you’ve been in a situation before, it’s got to help. I’m just pleased I shot 65 and got myself in there and closer to the leaders, with the conditions as they are and if the wind stays up, then they may not get too far away from me. It’s a big improvement today and gives me a chance tomorrow.”
Fellow Englishman Matt Wallace and South Africa’s Dean Burmester join the 24-time European Tour winner in fourth place after carding 71 and 68 respectively.