Fowler leads after 54 holes in Abu Dhabi


ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Rickie Fowler said in the Saturday gloom when play was halted at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship that he needed to come out and make birdies, a lot of birdies, on Sunday.

The world No. 6 played his final seven holes of the fog-delayed third round in 3 under par to move atop the leaderboard, three clear of Joost Luiten.

“I'm going to have to earn this win, because there's a lot of guys at the top of the leaderboard right now and it won't be easy,” said Fowler, who won last year’s Scottish Open for his first European Tour victory.

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Rory McIlroy, who was tied for the lead when play was halted Saturday, struggled when he returned to the golf course. The Northern Irishman, who has finished runner-up four times in Abu Dhabi, bogeyed No. 12 (his first hole on Sunday) but rebounded with birdies at the 15th and 17th holes to move to 10 under, three strokes behind Fowler.

World No. 1 Jordan Spieth finished his third round on Saturday (68) and is tied for 19th place at 7 under.

The final round was scheduled to start at 1:30 a.m. (ET) with groups going off the first and 10th tees in threesomes (the leaders were scheduled to tee off at 3:30 a.m. ET).