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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 February 2019

Omega Dubai Desert Classic: Bryson DeChambeau to go head-to-head with defending champion Haotong Li in final round

DeChambeau, the world No 5, will hold a one-shot advantage at the top of the leaderboard

Bryson Dechambeau shot a 67 yesterday to hold a one-shot at the top of the leaderboard of Haotong Li. EPA
Bryson Dechambeau shot a 67 yesterday to hold a one-shot at the top of the leaderboard of Haotong Li. EPA

The highest ranked player in the field will go head to head with the defending champion when Bryson DeChambeau and Haotong Li are paired together in the last group of the final day of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

DeChambeau, the world No 5, will hold a one-shot advantage at the top of the leaderboard when the two players start their last round at the Majlis at 12.45pm on Sunday.

The American reached 16-under par after carding 68 in Round 3. Li, who won out when facing another well-celebrated playing partner – Rory McIlroy – when he took the title last year, is on 15-under.

Ernie Els, who is chasing a fourth Classic title 14 years after his last, is two shots behind, in a tie for third with Matt Wallace.

DeChambeau said he has been some way off his best so far in Dubai, despite heading the leaderboard after rounds of 66, 66 and 68.

“Man, I'm just not 100 per cent with my golf game right now,” DeChambeau said.

“Shoot, I'm still leading, obviously. It's fantastic. I couldn't be displeased with that, but my expectation levels are for how I know I can perform, and I feel like I'm underperforming a little bit.

“I’m still in the lead, and still got the job done. I made it happen when it's necessary, and hopefully I can have one more of those days, and maybe even a better ball-striking day.”

DeChambeau, who is returning to Dubai for the first time since making his debut at the Classic as an amateur in 2016, has won four times in the past nine months on the PGA Tour, and three times in his past eight starts.

He said he is confident he can work out a way to do the same at Emirates Gold Club, and is unconcerned by being matched with last year’s winner.

“I know even while not at my best, I can get it done,” DeChambeau said. “I've done it before, and so if the worst comes to worst tomorrow, I'll figure out a way.

“I don't worry about other people. I just go out and try and dominate the golf course to the best of my ability, and hopefully that will show tomorrow.”

If Li does defend the Dallah Trophy, he will become just the second player, after Stephen Gallacher, to retain the Classic title.

“It definitely would mean a lot, and I just want to play my best over there and hopefully hold the trophy again,” Li said, after signing for a third-consecutive round of 67.

Updated: January 26, 2019 06:37 PM

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