DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Paul Casey hit a 3-iron to 10 feet and holed the eagle putt to complete a bogey-free 8-under 64 in the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic on Saturday, giving the Englishman a one-stroke lead as he seeks a 15th win on the European Tour.
Casey made four birdies in his first seven holes at Emirates Golf Club before finishing birdie-eagle for the low round of the day that lifted him above Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre (67) onto 15 under par overall.
“You can never say it was flawless, because there are always errors,” the 43-year-old Casey said of his round, “but it was very controlled. I’ve said many times this week I’m enjoying my golf and that was an example today.”
And nowhere was that more evident than on the approach to the par-5 18th hole, which Casey called “one of the iconic shots in golf.”
He flushed it, the ball landing in the middle of the green and rolling up toward the hole.
“A perfect 3-iron,” the 27th-ranked Casey said with a smile.
Casey is bidding for a first title on the European Tour since September 2019, when he won the European Open in Germany — when MacIntyre was tied for second.
The Scot came to the last hole a shot behind Casey but pushed his drive into the trees. He chipped out into the fairway and couldn’t get up and down, leaving his mid-range birdie putt short.
Brandon Stone of South Africa shot 66 and was a shot further back on 13 under overall. No other player was within four shots of Casey, with Sergio Garcia (67) and Laurie Canter (68) on 10 under.
Second-round leader Thomas Detry of Belgium shot 74 and dropped seven strokes off the pace.
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