Miguel Angel Jimenez avoided the mistakes that slowed Ernie Els, posting a tidy 4-under-par 68 yesterday for a one-shot lead in the Dubai Desert Classic.
Els still was in great shape to win for the first time this year, despite a rugged start to his round. He took four putts from 20 feet to make double bogey on the opening hole, then recovered with seven birdies for a 67 that left him only one shot behind at 201 going into the final round.
"I still don't know what I did there on the first hole," Els said. "I guess you are never too old to learn. I did try on each of those putts. The only reason I can think of is that the practice green was a bit too fast than the ones out there."
Colin Montgomerie, desperate for a victory that would ensure him another trip to Augusta National, had a 66 and four birdie putts on the final holes that narrowly missed. Still, he was only three shots behind, alone in third.
Montgomerie, No. 63 in the world ranking, needs to get into the top 50 by the end of the month to avoid missing the Masters.
LPGA -- Cristie Kerr shot a 4-under 68 for a 138 total to take a two-stroke lead over Moira Dunn (72) and Sae-Hee Son (70) into the final round of the MasterCard Classic in Huixquilucan, Mexico. Annika Sorenstam, playing her first event of the year, was three strokes behind after a 71, while Lorena Ochoa shot a 75 to fall eight back at 2 over.
Kerr, second to Jennifer Rosales last week in the SBS Open in Hawaii, had six birdies -- four on the back nine -- and two bogeys to reach 6 under on the Bosque Real Country Club course. Asian PGA -- Harmeet Kahlon shot a 5-under 67 in Phuket, Thailand, despite swirling winds and bad weather to share the lead with Scott Barr at the Thailand Open.