sport

Rose maintains lead in Abu Dhabi

Justin Rose emerged from bunkers on the opening two holes with his two-stroke lead intact on the final day of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Resuming 12 under par, England's world number five saved par from the fairway trap on the 410-yard first and then splashed out to two feet on the long second for birdie.

Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen remained his closest challengers, Donaldson after holing from eight feet on the first and Olesen after hitting his tee shot close at the 174-yard fourth.

Former Ryder Cup player David Howell, now 258th in the world, birdied the first two holes and was fourth on his own at 10 under, three behind.

It took only one more hole for Rose to lose the outright lead. He went from left rough to right rough on the 469-yard fifth, failed to get up and down and Olesen, having fired in his approach to two feet, birdied to join him on 12 under.

Howell's 10-foot putt on the following green, meanwhile, left him and Donaldson only one back.

Olesen followed his two birdies with a second shot into the middle of a bush on the 469-yard sixth and double-bogeyed.

It put Rose ahead on his own again, but not for long.

Howell, who less than three years ago stood 569th in the rankings, caught him with further birdies at the sixth and eighth and Donaldson then made it a three-way tie with a long putt at the ninth.

Rose parred his way to the turn, but just as he completed his front nine 36 Howell's pitch to the 582-yard 10th spun back to two feet.

Without a win since the 2006 BMW Championship at Wentworth - the European Tour's flagship event - he sank the putt and at 13 under led by one.

Howell wanted to keep the pressure on those behind him, but missed the green at the short 12th and bogeyed.

Donaldson birdied the 11th and Rose the 10th, but the latter made a mess of the next, going from sand to rough and hitting his chip far too strongly, for a bogey that gave Donaldson the lead on his own for the first time.

Howell's bogey was bad, but what came on the 414-yard next was far worse and almost certainly killed off his title hopes.

He thought he had hit a good second, but it landed short of the green in a bunker and after splashing out well to four feet he amazingly four-putted from there for a triple bogey seven.

At the same time Rose holed from 10 feet at the 12th to rejoin Donaldson on 13 under, two in front of Olesen and Portugal's Ricardo Santos.

Donaldson suddenly became the man to beat when he rolled in putts of 18 and 15 feet at the 14th and 15th, but a five-footer from Rose on the 14th narrowed the gap back to one in what looked like a duel between the two of them now.