McKibbin and Harrington eyeing big finish as Olesen takes control

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Tom McKibbin (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

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Thorbjørn Olesen surged into a commanding lead on Moving Day at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship.

The Dane, a seven-time winner on the DP World Tour, carded a third-round 63 to advance to 22 under par at Al Hamra Golf Club.

That was four shots clear of compatriot Rasmus Højgaard, with France’s Frederic Lacroix two further back in third.

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Olesen began the day a shot off the lead but came storming out the blocks with birdies at the first, third, fifth and sixth.

A missed short putt on the seventh cost the 34-year-old a bogey but he tapped in for another gain at the par-five eighth to turn in 32.

Approaches to seven feet on the tenth and six feet on the 12th yielded further gains before he drained a 20 footer on the 13th and tapped in for a third birdie of the week on the par-five next.

Olesen had to visit the drop zone after a wayward second at the last but got up-and-down for a tenth birdie of the day to establish a commanding lead.

Olesen had carded a brilliant 62 on Friday but said after his round: “I thought today I played a lot better (than yesterday).

“I hit a lot more fairways today, and that gave me the chance to be aggressive with the second shots. It was nice to find so many fairways. It was a great round again.”

Asked what the plan was for Sunday, he added: “I’ll play roughly the same. You have a guy like Rasmus behind you and you know anything can happen with his firepower.

“You have to keep focused, do your own thing. It’s never going to be easy but I’m going to try my hardest.”

Having won on six of the seven occasions he has led after 54 holes on the DP World Tour, Olesen is confident he can keep any nerves in check as he looks to re-enter the winner’s circle almost a year after his last victory.

“I feel pretty comfortable in that position,” he continued.

“There’s always going to be nerves, but it’s how you deal with it. I enjoy being in that position. That’s what you practice for as a little kid, to have the chance to win on a Sunday on the DP World Tour.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun tomorrow. It would mean a lot.

“I have both my kids here and my wife. That would make it a lot more fun if I could do it tomorrow. It’s nice to have them when you come off after a round and see the kids.”

Højgaard mixed five birdies with a single bogey in his 68, while Lacroix made three birdies and an eagle in an outward 31 before signing for a 66.

South Africa’s Brandon Stone, Dane Marcus Helligkilde and Spain’s Angel Hidalgo share fourth on 15 under.

Meanwhile neither Tom McKibbin or Padraig Harrington were able to make significant moves up the leaderboard.

McKibbin carded a two-under 70 to climb to nine-under-par and into a share of 25th position as his consistent start to the season continues while Harrington slipped to five-under after a one-over 73.

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