Three-way tie at the top as Clarke drops like a stone

Updated / Saturday, 17 Feb 2018 14:19

Southgate reacts to saving par

Matthew Southgate, Joost Luiten and Julien Guerrier will enter the final round of the NBO Oman Open in a three-way tie for the lead.

A Saturday six-over par 78 saw Darren Clarke fall out of contention after his Friday 67 pushed him right up the leaderboard. He's now one over after 54 holes.

England's Southgate carded seven birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey in a mixed third round to join Dutchman Luiten and Frenchman 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.

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," he said. "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 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." 

Ireland's Gavin Moynihan failed to make the cut after finishing his first two rounds on one over.