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Pádraig Harrington claws his way closer to top seven in Dubai

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Pádraig Harrington on the eighth green during day three of The AVIV Dubai Championship at Fire Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Pádraig Harrington on the eighth green during day three of The AVIV Dubai Championship at Fire Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Pádraig Harrington on the eighth green during day three of The AVIV Dubai Championship at Fire Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Pádraig Harrington insists he needs to "get his head in the game" after a third-round 67 left him needing at least the same again in the final round of the AVIV Dubai Championship to qualify for next week's DP World Tour Championship.

It was hard work but the three-time major champion (50) made six birdies and a bogey in a 67 to claw his way up seven places to tied 10th on 14-under par.

Ranked 56th in the Race to Dubai, he's five strokes behind Denmark's Joachim B Hansen and Italy's Francesco Laporta but with only the top 51 to tee it up in next week's $9 million, season-ending event, he needs another low round on the Fire Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on Sunday in clinch the top seven finish he reckons he needs to progress.

"I struggled a little bit and missed a few putts yesterday, so I was never that comfortable out there today," said Harrington, who bogeyed the short second but then birdied the par-five fifth, seventh and 13th and sprinkled in three more birdies at the par-four 12th and 15th holes for a 67 that left him in a six-way tie for 10th, five shots off the lead.

"I had not a great start, but I hung in there and played the par fives well, hit some good shots in and had some eagle chances.

"It was one of those days that it added up to a better score at the end of the day. I am just trying to stay patient, but it was a bit of a grind to get there, let's say."

Hansen and Laporta also shot 67s to lead by one stroke on 19-under par from defending champion Antoine Rozner of France, who shot 69.

With the top 23 on the leaderboard covered by just six shots, it promises to be a final-round shootout and Harrington knows he has to find his putting touch to make Europe's season-ending Tour Championship for the first time in five years.

"I'm going to hit some putts and some chips later on today and leave the golf alone as that seems to be fine," said the Dubliner. "Then I'll get my head in the right place for tomorrow."

Clandeboye's Jonathan Caldwell made two birdie fours and a bogey in a 71 to slip to 59th in seven-under, 12 shots behind Hansen and Laporta, who both made six birdies and a bogey in round three.

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They are one shot clear of defending champion Rozner who got his round off to a flying start with a birdie on the first, followed by a hole-out eagle two on the third before he gave two shots back with a double-bogey seven on the fifth in a round of 69.

"I definitely had an ideal start," Rozner said. "I couldn't dream of anything better than that. I had one horrible shot on the par-five. I tried to hit one big three-wood when I didn't need to. Missed it and made a double.

"Too bad I had a three-putt on the par-five seven, but the rest was actually okay. If I can score better on the easy ones, I think I will have a good round tomorrow."

Finland's Kalle Samooja is two strokes off the lead on 17-under par after a round of 68, with Min Woo Lee and Tommy Fleetwood a shot further back in fifth after rounds of 66 and 68, respectively.

Lee posted six birdies and eagled the 13th hole to move into contention, while Fleetwood recovered from a two-over-par front nine with six birdies in a blistering homeward nine of 30.

"All I can do is do what I did on the back nine today and try to do that for a full round, but there's been a lot of good golf in there and I've got to take that into tomorrow," said Fleetwood, who is now 39th in the world as he seeks his first win since claiming the Nedbank Golf Challenge two years ago.

Ryder Cup players Martin Kaymer (65) and Bernd Wiesberger (68) share seventh place with Thailand's Jazz Janewattananond (63) on 15 under par.

"It was very good from tee to green, the best I've ever played from tee to green," said Hansen, who went 50 holes before making his only bogey of the week so far at the 15th.

"I missed a lot of good chances at the beginning and a few on the back nine. All in all, five under is a good score, but it could have been a lot better.

"I just need to stay patient; I had a lot of chances out there today, so just stay patient and see what happens."

Laporta added: "It was a good day; it was a good fight with the other guys. It wasn't easy this afternoon; it was pretty windy, and the greens were getting firmer, so I'm really happy with my score.”


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