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One-shot lead makes Rose favourite for Race to Dubai

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Justin Rose
Tour Championship, third-round leaderboard
-15 J Rose (Eng); -14 J Rahm (Spa), D Frittelli (SA); -13, T Fleetwood (Eng), D Burmester (SA), K Aphibarnrat (Tha); -12 J Suri (USA), P Uihlein (US), T Hatton (Eng), P Dunne (Ire); -11 A Bjork (Swe), P Reed (US)
Selected others: -10 M Fitzpatrick (Eng), S Garcia (Spa); -9 R Fisher (Eng), M Kaymer (Ger), S Lowry (Ire)
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Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the Tour Championship’s final day and is in pole position to beat Tommy Fleetwood to the Race to Dubai title.

Rose shot a third-round 65 and will clinch the European Tour’s money list if he wins the season finale in Dubai.

Fellow Englishman Fleetwood – the current Race to Dubai leader – is two behind Rose in tied fourth on 13 under.

If Rose, 37, comes second, Fleetwood, 26, who also shot 65, has to win the tournament to finish number one.

Jon Rahm of Spain and South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli, whose 63 was the lowest score of the week, are one stroke behind Rose in a share for second.

Victory for Rose would cap a remarkable run of form that has lifted him from 10th on the money list to now be the favourite for his second European Tour money list title.

This would be a third successive victory for the Olympic champion, who secured back-to-back wins in China and Turkey.

The 2013 US Open winner followed his 70 on Friday with a 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates to sit 15 under par after 54 holes.

His third round contained seven birdies and a superb par save on the 18th, after his approach found the water in front of the green.

Southport’s Fleetwood, who has a lead of 256,738 points in the Race to Dubai standings, carded his second successive 65 to sit on 13 under with Dean Burmester and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

England’s Matt Fitzpatrick, last year’s winner here and who led the tournament overnight, was one of only six players in the 60-man field who failed to break par.

Tommy Fleetwood

‘It is set up perfectly’

“You couldn’t have scripted it much better,” Rose said.

“Tommy’s last two rounds have been incredible and he is right there should I make any kind of mistake. He is doing everything he has to do and I’m doing the same, so it’s perfectly set up for Sunday.

“Tommy’s had the pressure of leading all year and I played with a lot of freedom because I had nothing to lose. Does that change now? I just see it as a great opportunity and the course doesn’t know I’ve won two in a row.

“When I step on the first tee tomorrow, that’s irrelevant.”

Fleetwood, who has led the Race to Dubai for large parts of the season, said: “I will be gutted if I don’t win, but made up for Justin because he will deserve it.

“It’s a massive thing, the biggest thing I’ve ever tried to achieve. I was in contention in the US Open and in (the WGC event) Mexico, but they were like one or two rounds. This has been all year and it’s come down to the final event.”

‘The final round is a delicious prospect’ – analysis

Iain Carter, BBC Radio 5 live golf correspondent

The course was set up for low scoring and it has set up a thrilling climax to the Race to Dubai.

Rose and Fleetwood responded magnificently with their 65s, the former ending his round with a crucial and composed par after finding water in front of the final green.

He is playing with the confidence that comes with victories in his last two tournaments. Fleetwood deserves huge credit for the way he has recovered from his first-round 73.

It is clear that he does not want to surrender leadership of the Race to Dubai at the very end of the season.

Both he and Rose are bringing the best out of each other, making the final round of the European campaign a delicious prospect.

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