Tom McKibbin made a big move on day three of the Ras Al Khaimah Championship as a fine effort of 67 moved him into the top-20 heading into the final round.
McKibbin is in a share of 18th place on eight-under, eight adrift of leader Zander Lombard who leads Rasmus Hojgaard by one on sixteen-under after a superb bogey-free 63 that included a front nine of 30.
The Holywood native put on a display of his own on the front nine, turning in 32 after two birdies and a momentum boosting eagle on the par-5 8th.
“It was a good day highlighted by the eagle on it. The ball was just in the rough and I sort of took a wood out and hoped to get a flyer and it skipped up to six or seven feet and I held the putt.”
The 20-year-old was slightly untidy on the back nine, carding just two pars, although he finished strongly again with birdies on 16 and 17 having dropped shots on 10, 13 and 15.
Having made the cut late on Friday afternoon McKibbin enjoyed letting loose a little more on moving day and he is now on track for his highest DP World Tour finish in his rookie season.
“It’s a good golf course. It’s not as stressful a course as the last two weeks and stuff, the fairways are really tight but there’s no trouble as such off the tee I mean it’s just tricky rough but no real tee shots that you stand over and think are tricky.
“It’s not a relaxed week because you are still trying to do the best you can but it’s less stressful out here this week.”
Pádraig Harrington briefly got to within one on eleven-under after his sixth birdie of the day on the tenth. However, four bogeys on 11, 12, 15 and 18 – for the second day in a row – saw him slip out of contention on seven-under.
In the end, it was a disappointing two-under 70 and he is in a share of 23rd place.