Magnificent Rahm poised for Dubai double

By Sports Desk November 23, 2019

Jon Rahm holds a share of the lead at the DP World Tour Championship and is on course to win the Race to Dubai title after a magnificent third round.

Rahm started moving day in joint-second place with Tommy Fleetwood - also battling to be crowned European number one - and will begin his final round level with Mike Lorenzo-Vera on 15 under.

The Spaniard matched his six-under opening round of 66 to catch Lorenzo-Vera at Jumeirah Golf Estates, where the leading duo hold a two-shot advantage over Rory McIlroy.

Fleetwood just about had the edge in the tussle for the Race to Dubai title at the halfway mark in the final tournament of the season, but it is advantage Rahm after the Englishman signed for a two-under 70.

World number five Rahm, four shots ahead of Fleetwood, will win the Race to Dubai if he repeats his 2017 triumph at the Earth Course and Bernd Wiesberger finishes lower than solo second.

Wiesberger began the week as the man to catch, but is down in a share of 24th place with his chances looking slim.

Second place will also be good enough for Rahm to overhaul Wiesberger if the Austrian finishes worse than solo 21st and none of Fleetwood, Shane Lowry or Matt Fitzpatrick win the title on Sunday.

Rahm birdied the first two holes and hit the turn in 34 after his only bogey of the day at the eighth, then picked up another four shots on the back nine to draw level with Lorenzo-Vera.

Lorenzo-Vera said he was wary of "big dogs" biting him after ending his second round with a three-shot lead and a solitary bogey at the 18th meant he had to settle for a second successive 69.

Fleetwood could only muster three birdies to leave himself with work to do, while McIlroy enhanced his chances of winning the tournament for a third time by shooting a brilliant seven-under 65 - including an eagle-three at the seventh.

Fitzpatrick is nine shots off the lead, with Lowry a further stroke back.

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    Golf's calendar has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic with the PGA and European Tours suspended, while the Masters and US PGA Championship have been postponed.

    It appears certain the U.S. Open and The Open will follow suit and the Ryder Cup, scheduled to take place at Whistling Straits between September 25-27, is also under threat.

    This week, Europe captain Padraig Harrington insisted the biennial competition should go ahead if it is safe even if it meant he had to pick his entire team.

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    And DiMarco believes points should be retained and carried over to a qualification process for a Ryder Cup taking place in 2021.

    "No, I don't think that either," DiMarco told Stats Perform when asked if the event should proceed even if the captains had to choose all 12 players.

    "[For me], the most important thing at the 2004 US PGA was to make that Ryder Cup team. 

    "I just think if it gets cancelled this year and they play it in 2021, the points should just continue for another year and just keep it continuing, nobody can pick this year and then just go as if it was a three-year qualification. 

    "That's the fairest for everybody and I think that way the guys who have played great get to keep their points and it still gives guys a chance to make that team. 

    "I think the eight players who qualify and the four captain's picks, that's the way it should be."

    Harrington has also advocated playing the Ryder Cup behind closed doors if it is deemed unsafe for spectators to attend.

    However, DiMarco feels having fans in attendance is crucial, not least because it gives the home side an advantage.

    "I don't think the Ryder Cup should be played without fans, I think it's a disservice," added DiMarco, who also played for USA in 2006. 

    "I get the other tournaments, I guess you can say it is what it is. But it wouldn't be fair to the home team the fact they wouldn't be allowed to have fans. 

    "So, I think as big as the Ryder Cup is the fans are as big a part of that as anything. Yes, it's 24 players and the captains and the co-captains and all that and they can go out and do it, but without those roars you hear around the course it just wouldn't be the same. I think it's the one thing [in golf] – [American] football is the same, you can't watch a football game without fans you just can't do it. 

    "The Ryder Cup has to have its fans there, when it's on home turf you have to have that home-field advantage and the fans are that home-field advantage. 

    "If it comes to that point where they say there won't be any fans I don't think it should be played."

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    "We're playing on, if at all possible, because the merit of getting out there and showcasing our sport far outweighs a perfect qualifying system," he told Sportsmail.

    "It wouldn't worry me if we were the first tournament back and I had to go with 12 picks with no qualifying. In many ways, it would be perfect if the Ryder Cup was the first tournament back. 

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