Earth Course Rahm-raid looks on the cards
Spanish youngster warming to his task
Story so far
Justin Rose, 13-2 favourite on tournament-eve, has surged to the top of the DP World Tour Championship leaderboard with 18 holes to play at the Earth Course, Dubai.
Rose, chasing his third consecutive victory on the European Tour and in contention for the Race to Dubai money title, carded a bogey-free, third-round 65 to force his way in front. The Englishman leads Jon Rahm and Dylan Frittelli by a shot.
Rose is a best-price 13-8 to convert his slender advantage into the trophy, which would also give him Race to Dubai success. RTD pacesetter Tommy Fleetwood is tied for fourth place, two shots behind Rose, so a thrilling finish lies in store.
Sergio Garcia, the only other player who had a mathematical chance of RTD glory coming into this week, shares 13th spot. The Spaniard is five shots off the lead.
-15 Justin Rose
-14 Jon Rahm, Dylan Frittelli
-13 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Tommy Fleetwood, Dean Burmester
-12 Julian Suri, Tyrrell Hatton, Peter Uihlein, Paul Dunne
-11 Alexander Bjork, Patrick Reed
-10 Matthew Fitzpatrick, David Lipsky, Sergio Garcia
13-8 J Rose, 7-2 J Rahm, 11 T Fleetwood, D Frittelli, 14 K Aphibarnrat, 16 T Hatton, 25 D Burmester, 30 P Uihlein, 33 P Dunne, 35 J Suri, 40 P Reed, 80 S Garcia, M Fitzpatrick, 100 bar
Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood have set up a wonderful end to the Race to Dubai by finishing round three of the Tour Championship in splendid fashion, but one wonders if the English duo will get dragged down by their money-list battle.
Rose knows that solo fifth place or better gives him hope of the RTD title. Solo second would guarantee RTD glory for Rose, unless Fleetwood is the man who wins the Tour Championship. Fleetwood will just be trying to get level with Rose or overtake him, which would deliver the RTD crown.
While all these permutations fill the heads of Rose and Fleetwood, as well as the pressure which comes from the considerable financial rewards which would accompany an RTD victory, the highest-ranked player in the field might take advantage.
Jon Rahm has just one thing on his mind – winning the Tour Championship – and the world number five can be fancied to go extremely close. Rahm at 7-2 looks by far the best value option with 18 holes to play in Dubai.
Rahm had a fortnight off to freshen himself up for the Tour Championship and the Spanish youngster has looked full of vibrancy again after a couple of weak tournaments. His main handicap coming into this week was zero course experience at a venue others knew well, but this class act has quickly adjusted and could have threatened the course record in round three with a bit more luck on the greens.
It was logical Rahm would get stronger as the week progressed, learning new things about the layout every day, and so it has proved. This cocksure character will be relishing the chance to attack the Earth Course from just one off the lead with 18 holes to play.
Rahm was awarded Rookie of the Year honours at the start of this week and can end it with another prestigious title. Dylan Frittelli is talented, but not in the same league as Rahm, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Dean Burmester are unreliable under final-round pressure. The rest have surely given Rose and Rahm too much of a start.
Rahm is the outright recommendation, while final-round twoball punters are pointed towards Hadyn Porteous, another Earth Course debutant who is slowly but surely getting to grips with the track. Rahm and Porteous have both arrived at the Tour Championship with their A-game, and the power-packed pair can finish with a flourish with three competitive rounds under their belt.
Porteous can overwhelm powder-puff driver Ian Poulter in the 5.40am twoball. Punters looking for a large multiple should consider Martin Kaymer, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Rahm and Justin Rose, who all appear solid twoball favourites.
4pts 7-2 general
2pts 11-8 bet365, BoyleSports, Hills
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