Shane Lowry put his feet up in Ireland over Christmas, before jetting out to Abu Dhabi with his family at the start of January and tuning up for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with his friend Paul Dunne.

The Offaly man is now reaping the rewards of that preparation, sitting three shots clear at the top of the leaderboard heading into Saturday's final round.

Lowry lost his PGA Tour card last year, but the ranking points garnered if he wins in the UAE could lift him into the world's top 50 and earn him an invitation to April's US Masters. 

Right now, that's far from the 31-year-old's mind - "I've got a two-year-old who'll be keeping me occupied!" - and Lowry is taking nothing for granted at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

"I'm not going to say I feel invincible because we all know that this game is not easy," he said after shooting a five-under 67 on Friday.

"It can jump up and bite when you least expect it.

"I'm trying to go out and do what I've been doing. I've been hitting some lovely iron shots. It just so happens that I've hit them on the par-threes and holed a few putts. It just shows that when I get myself in position I can give myself chances and that's what I need to do.

"We're playing in a world class field on a very difficult golf course. I just need to stay aggressive, play my own game and try and make as many birdies as I can. That's the way I play golf. If I do that, hopefully I'll be up there and give myself a chance coming down the last few."

RECAP: LOWRY MAINTAINS ABU DHABI LEAD 

Lowry won't stray from the routine that's served him well so far. He's had the benefit of spending the last fortnight in the area and is aware of the dangers of losing his focus.

The pressure of leading from the front, he says, will not be something he dwells on.

"I've got the whole evening and morning to think about it. I'll enjoy my dinner tonight, get up in the morning, relax, get out and get going.

"My family is here. We've had the same routine pretty much every day and we'll be doing that tomorrow."

Follow Shane Lowry's final round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the News Now app.