Jimenez Els Monty Battling for Top Spot


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates --Miguel Angel Jimenez posted a 4-under 68 Saturday to hold onto a one-stroke lead through three rounds of the Dubai Desert Classic. Jimenez completed 54 holes at 16-under-par 200.
World No. 3 Ernie Els fought back from an early double bogey to finish at 15-under-par 201 after a third-round 67. Colin Montgomerie, the 1996 winner here, fired a 6-under 66 to move into third place minus-13.
Stephen Dodd stands alone in fourth at 12-under-par 204 after a 3-under 69. European Ryder Cupper Lee Westwood was one shot further back at minus-11.
Jimenez opened the round two strokes clear of Els, but Els double bogeyed the first and the Spaniard all of a sudden led by four. Jimenez picked up his first birdie at the par-3 fourth to get to minus-13.
The 41-year-old made the turn at 14 under after converting a birdie try at the ninth. Jimenez kept moving with a birdie at the par-5 13, his third in three rounds on that hole on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club.
Jimenez, a four-time winner last year on the European Tour, remained at 15 under as he parred four consecutive holes. He closed with a birdie at the last to maintain the outright lead.
'My game is still there and I hope it will be there for one more day,' said Jimenez. 'What happened to Ernie at the first can happen to anybody and you can't afford to think about that and lose concentration.'
Els faltered to a four-putt double bogey at the first that dropped him to minus-8 and four strokes behind Jimenez. However, the South African roared back with a fine round that included five birdies on the back nine.
'I don't know what I did on the first. It shows you are never too old to learn and that you have to respect the old game,' Els said. 'I did try on every putt, believe me. To hit two good shots and have an 18-, 20-footer for birdie and walk off with a double-bogey isn't the start you want. I never want to start a round with a bogey and a double is a disaster.'
The 35-year-old birdied the par-5 third to get one stroke back. Els moved back to even par for his round with a birdie at the par-4 fifth.
After cruising to the back nine with four straight pars, Els collected his third birdie at the par-5 10th to get to 11 under. The 1994 and 2002 winner here then birdied the par-five 13th for the third round in row.
Els came right back with a birdie on 14 to get back within two shots of Jimenez. He moved closer with a birdie at the 16th. Like Jimenez, Els birdied the par-5 closing hole to remain within one shot of the Spaniard.
'The way Miguel is playing, you are going to have to play well to beat him,' Els said. 'He's had three really good years and is very comfortable with his game. He's played in the Ryder Cup and won some really good tournaments. He's an old seasoned campaigner who is happy with himself and his game. Monty is only three shots behind and you also feel you have to play well to beat him.'
Young Australian Jarrod Lyle posted a 4-under 68 Saturday. He was joined in a tie for sixth at 10-under-par 206 by Bradley Dredge and James Kingston.
David Howell, the 1999 champion of this event, shared ninth place at minus-9 with Jamie Donaldson, Stephen Scahill, Peter Fowler, Gregory Havret and Robert Karlsson.
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