Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

Pepperell and Fisher ready for Doha shootout

Eddie Pepperell. Getty Images. 

By Kent Gray
Oliver Fisher’s four-birdie finish in a third round 65 or Eddie Pepperell’s clutch birdie on 18 to tie the lead with a 65 after an earlier gain on the 16th hole.

Take you pick for the biggest momentum shift heading into the thunderstorm threatened final round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

But for a shot that could yet define the final leg of the 2018 Desert Swing, look no further than the 12th hole on a drama filled third day at Doha Golf Club. In fact, make that the three shots Pepperell took from a sticky spot on the par 4 for a bogey that kept his bid for a maiden European Tour title going.

Here’s the video evidence of a hole that could have ended much worse for the 27-year-old Englishman. The European Tour even wonder if it might be the bogey of a season barely three months old.

Pepperell went on to produce this shot and subsequent putt on the par-5 18th to tie Fisher at -16 for a two-stroke buffer over unheralded American Sean Crocker. Italian duo Lorenzo Gagli and Andrea Pavan, Frenchman Grégory Havret, England’s David Horsey and Swede Marcus Kinhult are a further two shots adrift at 12 under

“I would say that was my best round, especially with the position I was in going into the day. I hit a lot of good shots, I maybe lost a little feeling through the turn, but I bounced back nicely and I didn’t let it bother me,” said Pepperell who will take the 54 hole lead into Sunday for the second time.

“That’s a nice score on a Saturday and coming down the last few holes, certainly down the last seeing Oli on 16 under, I didn’t want to finish behind the leader so I’m happy to be at least tied.”

Pepperell may have had trouble with the rocks earlier but he got a fortunate bounce on the 16th and got up and down for birdie to cut the lead back to one before a nice third set up a closing birdie.

“When I saw Oli was on 16 under I said that I wanted to birdie the last,” said Pepperell, “and I’ve managed to do that so mentally I feel like I’m up for it, my game is there and it’s just going to be a case of holing putts and getting into the rhythm of the round, keep on doing what I’m doing because I’m hitting a lot of good shots.”

Here’s Fisher’s brilliant finish.

“I’m very pleased with my day today and looking forward to tomorrow,” said Fisher, who is searching for his first win on the European Tour since the 2011 Czech Open.

“The important thing for me is to make sure I give myself enough time with things, to make sure I’m aware of what I’m doing and try and enjoy it as much as I can, I did that today. My caddie was great.

“I gave myself some chances coming in and thankfully I made them.”

Oliver Fisher tees off on the 6th hole during the third round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Getty Images.

Fisher completed his stunning finish with a 20-foot left-to-righter and is ready for Sunday.

“It’s always a strange course because you can play okay around here and not do too much,” he said. “I felt like I missed some opportunities on the first and nine and 10, although they can play a bit tricky at times but I was really pleased to birdie 18.

“We’ve still got one round to go, a lot of golf to be played out there but I’ve certainly put myself in a good position.”

Due to forecast thunderstorms Sunday’s final round will feature a two-tee start from 06:30 will the leaders off the 1st tee at 8.30am local time.

 

Kent Gray

Editor of Golf Digest Middle East. Has written about golf since 1989 and owned a suspect short game even longer.

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