Ryder Cup stars Viktor Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood in the group two back; Robert MacIntyre and Tyrrell Hatton are four behind; Rory McIlroy 10 back after a level-par 72; Watch the third round live on Saturday from 7am on Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 17/11/23 2:03pm
Nicolai Hojgaard produced a sensational final-hole eagle to take a two-shot lead into the weekend at the DP World Tour Championship, as Rory McIlroy slipped out of contention.
Hojgaard held a share of the overnight lead and recovered from two bogeys in his first four holes on Friday to card a six-under 66 at Jumeirah Golf Estates, moving him to 11 under and clear of the logjam at the top of the leaderboard.
The Dane reached the turn in level par before following a 20-foot birdie at the 10th with three more in a five-hole stretch from the 13th, then fired his approach at the par-five last to within six feet and converted the eagle putt for the halfway advantage.
“I just know on every round there’s going to be a run of birdies at some point with where my game is at,” Hojgaard said. “So it’s about staying patient. But I would like to play the front nine a little bit better in the weekend. But I’m very, very satisfied with how I’m playing these two rounds.”
Hojgaard’s Ryder Cup team-mates Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland matched his 66 to sit in tied-second alongside Jens Dantorp, Antoine Rozner and South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence, who charged into contention with a bogey-free 64.
Lawrence posted an eagle and six birdies to move to nine under, while Fleetwood made three birdies in a four-hole stretch and Hovland birdied three of his last five holes to also sit in the share of second.
Zander Lombard carded a bogey-free 65 to move into tied-seventh with overnight co-leader Matthieu Pavon, while Tyrrell Hatton birdied his opening two holes on his way to a five-under 67.
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Hatton sits in the group on seven under that contains Ryder Cup team-mate Robert MacIntyre, with defending champion Jon Rahm a further stroke back, while McIlroy is 10 behind after a level-par 72.
McIlroy was two over after seven holes but followed a three-putt bogey at the 11th with another dropped shot at the 16th, then scrambled a par at the last after finding water off the tee.
“Sort of similar to yesterday,” McIlroy admitted. “I got off to a decent start again. A couple under through nine and then yeah, just some loose shots coming in. I hit a putt on 11 that I was a little aggressive with and missed the one coming back.
“I was trying to make some birdies on the back nine and get something going and I couldn’t. I was just stuck in neutral all day. There is a low one out there and obviously I’m going to need a low one to get myself back in the tournament.”
Watch the DP World Tour Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues Saturday from 7am on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and more with NOW.
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