'I'm just hoping I keep going' - Shane Lowry to bring three-shot lead into final round in Dubai
Ireland's Shane Lowry will take a three-shot lead into the final day of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
The Offaly native equalled the best round of the day with a 67 seven birdies and two bogeys.
South African Richard is three shots off Lowry in second with Ian Poulter and further two shots back in third position.
"I feel good about my game," he said after his first round. "I was home for the whole of Christmas and I came out here with my family and rented a house in Dubai.
"It's probably the best pre-season I've ever done, and it showed. I'm just hoping I can keep going."
Lowry’s daughter, Iris, is at the tournament along with his wife, Wendy.
“She’s full of the joys of life, running round, and she doesn’t care what score you are shooting,” Lowry said. “There’s no lie-ins – it’s up at 7am every morning. But it’s lovely to have the family here. She keeps me occupied, so I know what I’ll be doing for the next few hours or whatever.
“Look, I’m in a world-class field so I know they are going to come out firing. I just need to make as many birdies as I can and see where that leaves me on the 18th green.”
Poulter remains in with a slim chance of victory as he adjusts his preparations after a long-haul flight to the United Arab Emirates.
"I haven't hit any balls after the round and I haven't done what I would normally do," he told europeantour.com.
"So I've been resting up a lot and hopefully that helps tomorrow. To finish with a three is great and, you know, hopefully I can have a little run up the board tomorrow.
"It was a good sleep last night. I haven't felt too bad so I think I've kind of got over most of the jet lag."
While Poulter remains in the running, fellow Englishman Lee Westwood fired a round of 71 to drop out of contention on nine under overall, with Scotland's Scott Jamieson tied for fifth, one shot clear of Westwood.