England’s Paul Casey checked an eight-under-par 64 in the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic on Saturday and tied the least round of the week to go 15-under overall and make a one-effort lead heading into the last round.
Casey recorded six birdies and covered off his day with a falcon on the standard five eighteenth in a error-free round to jump up five spots to lead Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre. South African Brandon Stone is third, a shot further behind.
“To finish off with an eagle was pretty cool,” Casey said. “You can never say [the round was] flawless… It was very controlled, challenging at the same time with a little bit of wind here and there.
“The strong asset I have in this game is the way I drive it, the length. The game has gone more and more towards length and I’m fortunate that I’m still able to lean on that strength and compete out here.”
Casey is pursuing his fifteenth European Tour title and however he has succeeded at Abu Dhabi twice, the 43-year-old has always lost in Dubai.
“I’ve won just down the road but never in Dubai,” he added. “I can see the very impressive list of winners, there’s photos of them behind the 18th green. Iconic trophy, iconic event… But there’s a long way to go.”
Laurie Canter and 2017 champion Sergio Garcia are tied for fourth, five shots behind Casey, while Finn Kalle Samooja is 6th at nine under after a 71.
Overnight leader Thomas Detry, who carded two bogey-free rounds, recorded two bogeys and two double bogeys to get done with 74, dropping the Belgian down to seventh close by Justin Rose and Justin Harding.