May 24, 2024

Nicolai Højgaard snatches lead at Ras Al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital

 Nicolai Højgaard snatches lead at Ras Al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital

RAS AL KHAIMAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – FEBRUARY 05: Nicolai Hojgaard of Denmark plays his tee shot on the third hole during day three of the Ras al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital at Al Hamra Golf Club on February 05, 2022 in Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Nicolai Højgaard will take a three-stroke advantage into the final day of the Ras Al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital after a stunning back nine display earned him an eight-under 64 and a 20 under the total.

The 20-year-old already has one title to his name, at last year’s DS Automobiles Italian Open, when he led the field by one shot heading into the final round, before converting that advantage for a maiden victory.

“It felt the same as yesterday actually, I played really well,” said the Dane. “I got off to a really good start today. I’m driving really well at the moment so I’m trying to play quite aggressively and the last two days have been good off the tees, that’s the reason why I’m shooting all these good scores at the moment. It was pretty good out there.

“You want to be in these positions in the final round, but it’s 18 more holes and a lot can happen in 18 holes. I’ve heard it will be a little windier, so you never know. I’m going to try and do the same things out on the course, commit and free up and then I’ll feel like I have a good chance.”

Højgaard enters Sunday at Al Hamra Golf Club targeting a second DP World win before his 21st birthday, his twin brother Rasmus having already won three times, and he will once again tee it up alongside Scotland’s David Law in the final group.

Law held the halfway lead in the northernmost of the United Arab Emirates, and he enjoyed a steady start on day three as he was four-under through 11 and three shots clear of his Danish counterpart. 

The tables turned thereafter, however, as the birdies dried up for the 30-year-old Aberdonian while Højgaard stormed home with five birdies in the final six. Law’s bogey six at the last left him three shots back, signing for a three-under 69 and a 17 under the total.

“It’s annoying to finish like that,” said Law. “I played pretty well until the last four holes and then I struggled. Got a bit greedy, thought we could maybe nick it with a three wood, chase it up the front and make a four which is a mentality you want to have. You’re always trying to better yourself and get better.

Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen is a short further back on 16 under, while Oliver Bekker of South Africa holds fourth place on his own on 15 under.

“I have to say my ball-striking was really solid today,” said the 31-year-old. “I had a lot of chances, a lot of straight putts that were easy to read and I made a lot of them so I’m happy for that.”

Free tickets are available for the Ras Al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital via Ticketmaster:  https://www.ticketmaster.ae/artist/ras-al-khaimah-championship-tickets/1129884