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Michael Hoey needs big round to stay in touch


Belfast's Michael Hoey is eight off pace in Qatar

Belfast's Michael Hoey is eight off pace in Qatar

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Belfast's Michael Hoey is eight off pace in Qatar

Michael Hoey has plenty of work to do to get back into contention heading into today's final round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

Hoey is eight shots behind the leaders – on four under – after yesterday's two-over-par 74 left him sharing 39th place following the third round.

The Belfast man started the day seven off the pace but his hopes of success were hit by bogeys at the fourth and fifth.

Hoey's two back nine birdies were wiped out by bogeys on 16 and 18.

Newcastle-based Simon Thornton equalled Hoey's 74. He is also eight behind the leaders on four under.

Thornton's hopes of mounting a challenge were dented after a bogey at three was followed by two more dropped shots at the sixth.

Thornton did manage two birdies on his back nine.

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Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Steve Webster share the lead heading into the final round after contrasting performances yesterday.

Cabrera-Bello started the day with a two-shot lead and extended his advantage thanks to a birdie on the second, but dropped two shots in the last six holes to card a disappointing 73.

In contrast, Webster started poorly and was two over par after five holes before playing the remaining 13 in four under to return a 70 and join Cabrera-Bello on 12 under par.

"That wasn't pretty," admitted Webster, who started the tournament with an albatross on his very first hole on Wednesday.

"I don't know what happened the first six or seven holes.

"I hit it really well on the range and I think I got a bit cocky on the course and hit so many bad shots the first six or seven holes; it was like I had never played golf before."

Webster picked up shots on the seventh, 11th, 14th and 15th to boost his chances of a third European Tour title.

"On the back nine I gave myself a few chances and I knocked in a really good putt on 11 which made things feel a little better," added the 38-year-old.

Cabrera-Bello said: "I still feel as though I played okay, I just did not manage to score as well.

"But I am still in a fantastic position."

The best round of the day belonged to France's Adrien Saddier, the world number 720 shooting a flawless 64 in just his fourth European Tour event.

That was four shots better than anyone else and lifted the 21-year-old qualifying school graduate 42 places up the leaderboard into a share of third on 11 under.

Seventeen players are within four shots of the lead, including Paul Lawrie on 10 under and his Ryder Cup team-mate Sergio Garcia on nine under.

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