Matthew Southgate leads in Oman as Darren Clarke struggles

Former Ryder Cup captain Clarke came crashing back down to earth after a good second round

Matthew Southgate of England lines up a putt on the 18th hole during the third round of the NBO Oman Open at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat, Oman. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Matthew Southgate of England lines up a putt on the 18th hole during the third round of the NBO Oman Open at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat, Oman. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

 

England’s Matthew Southgate will enter the final round of the NBO Oman Open in a three-way tie for the lead as he goes in search of his first European Tour title.

Southgate carded seven birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey in a mixed third round to join Dutchman Joost Luiten and Frenchman Julien Guerrier on 12 under par after they produced matching 66s.

Englishman Chris Wood was another stroke back in fourth place, one shot ahead of Spain’s Adrian Otaegui on 10 under.

For Darren Clarke it was a disappointing third round after he had fired his best score since 2015 on Friday.

An eventful round which included five birdies, five bogeys, a double bogey and a quadruple bogey added up to a 78 for Clarke and leaves him well down the leaderboard at one over par.

Southgate began the day two shots behind halfway leader Matthieu Pavon but soon set about closing the gap, opening his third round with three straight birdies to climb to 12 under.

After dropping shots at the fourth and sixth, Southgate carded a double bogey on the seventh before finishing his front nine with a birdie to reach the turn in 36.

Southgate then notched birdies at the 11th, 12th and 18th to sign for a 69 and grab a share of the lead.

“The birdie at nine was big,” Southgate told www.europeantour.com. “It takes a big heart to hit shots like that because a part of you wants to go and hide in a corner and cry.

“People say to you, ‘keep going’, but I’m not going to walk in! You can do two things, you can hide behind your caddie and sulk and knock it around in level or over par, or you can take it on the chin, rise up to the challenge and try to hit good golf shots.

“That’s something I’m really of proud of having done today because it’s very hard to get out there and keep going but that was definitely a turning point at nine.

Collated third round scores in the NBO Oman Open, Almouj Golf, Oman (Britain & Irl unless stated, par 72):

204 Joost Luiten (Ned) 72 66 66, Julien Guerrier (Fra) 69 69 66, Matthew Southgate 65 70 69

205 Chris Wood 70 66 69

206 Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 69 71 66

207 Alexander Levy (Fra) 71 69 67

208 Andrew Johnston 71 68 69, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 68 65 75

209 Seung-su Han (USA) 70 69 70, Robert Rock 69 71 69, Stephen Gallacher 74 67 68, Fabrizio Zanotti(Par) 68 71 70, Jorge Campillo(Spa)73 70 66

210 Alexander Bjork (Swe) 72 68 70, Matteo Manassero (Ita) 68 71 71

211 Nico Geyger (Chi) 72 72 67, Andy Sullivan 67 73 71, Thomas Bjorn(Den)71 73 67, Sam Brazel(Aus) 68 71 72, Benjamin Hebert(Fra) 72 70 69, Oliver Farr 68 71 72, Edoardo Molinari(Ita)73 71 67

212 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 69 69 74, David Drysdale 72 70 70, Jeff Winther(Den)70 71 71, Andrea Pavan(Ita) 70 72 70, Jordan Smith 68 72 72, Gregory Bourdy(Fra) 72 68 72, Scott Fernandez(Spa)72 70 70, Aaron Rai 71 70 71

213 Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 74 68 71, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 70 72 71, Charlie Ford 69 74 70, Connor Syme 70 71 72, Daan Huizing(Ned) 66 71 76, Lee Slattery 72 67 74, Richard Sterne(Rsa)72 70 71

214 Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 73 71 70, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 72 72 70, Callum Shinkwin 67 74 73, Daisuke Kataoka(Jpn) 69 74 71, Raphael Jacquelin(Fra)69 74 71, Thongchai Jaidee(Tha) 72 71 71, Jens Dantorp(Swe)71 72 71

215 Clement Sordet (Fra) 74 70 71, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 70 74 71, Thomas Detry(Bel) 72 69 74, Soomin Lee(Kor)69 74 72

216 Matt Wallace 69 72 75, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 73 69 74, Ryan Evans 72 71 73, Paul Lawrie 71 73 72, Daniel Im(USA) 75 69 72, Eddie Pepperell 71 71 74, Nino Bertasio(Ita)70 72 74, Pablo Larrazabal(Spa)73 71 72

217 Scott Hend (Aus) 71 71 75, Paul Waring 65 71 81, Zander Lombard(Rsa) 72 70 75, Darren Clarke 72 67 78, Oliver Fisher 73 70 74

218 Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha) 70 69 79, S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind) 73 69 76, Jonathan Thomson 71 72 75

221 Marc Warren 69 72 80, Richard McEvoy 72 71 78, Pep Angles (Spa) 73 71 77

222 Gavin Green (Mal) 72 71 79, Bradley Neil 74 69 79

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