Pablo Larrazabal retained his three-shot leading going into the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

Seeking his first European Tour win since 2015, the Spaniard carded a two-under round of 70 on Saturday.

That maintained his advantage over first-round leader Wil Besseling, who matched his score, while home hope Branden Grace's 71 meant he slipped to four shots behind Larrazabal.

Zander Lombard and Marcus Armitage sit on five under par in a tie for fourth ahead of Sunday's action, six shots behind the leader.

It was Sweden's Joel Sjoholm who had the best round of the day at Leopard Creek with a 68 and he is one of four players sitting on four under.

Eight birdies in the first 13 holes had Sjoholm flying but he dropped a shot at the 16th and double-bogeyed the last in a blow to his hopes of challenging the leaders.

Leader Larrazabal, whose most recent triumph came at the BMW International Open in June 2015, had five birdies and dropped three shots in a steady effort, though one of his bogeys came on the 17th and denied him the chance to extend his advantage.

He earlier overcame finding the water for one of his other dropped shots at the seventh and goes into round four in a strong position with the field well spread out behind him.

Pablo Larrazabal holds a three-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Alfred Dunhill Championship after carding 69 on day two at Leopard Creek Country Club.

The Spaniard hit a six-under-par 66 in his first round in South Africa, and six birdies on Friday ensured he moved three shots clear of overnight leader Will Besseling and home favourite Branden Grace.

It was not all smooth sailing for Larrazabal, who double-bogeyed the seventh with a tee shot that landed in the water, though four successive birdies on the back nine gave him the edge.

His run on the back nine included a remarkable, 100-foot putt from the edge of the green on the 12th.

"It was a good job, it wasn't an easy day," said Larrazabal, who did not take up the chance to wear shorts in sweltering conditions at Leopard Creek, in quotes reported on the European Tour's official website.

"The wind was swirling around and gusting and this golf course was tough. I made a big mistake on the seventh, I didn't trust what my game plan was, but I was playing good enough to start making birdies again and that's what I did.

"I had a lot of patience out there. I know I'm playing good, I know I'm playing aggressive enough to make birdies and get on a run. If you have patience out there the putts are going to drop, they did drop today and I'm happy with a 69."

South African Grace, who has won four European Tour titles on home soil, and triumphed at Leopard Creek in 2014, hit 70, while Basseling bounced back from three bogeys with two birdies to stay in the mix.

Grace's compatriot Thomas Aiken shares fourth place with English duo Jack Singh Brar and Marcus Armitage. Eddie Pepperell - the highest-ranked player in the competition - is tied for 28th after carding a par 73.

Jason Day has withdrawn from the Presidents Cup due to a back injury, with Byeong Hun An replacing the Australian in the International Team.

Day had been set to make his fifth appearance at the event, but Ernie Els has now had to call up a replacement in the form of An, who has had three top 10 and eight top-25 finishes in the 2018-19 PGA Tour season.

An's 15th-placed finish on the International Team standings saw him miss out on an automatic place in Els' squad, though he has started the 2019-20 season well.

"We wish Jason well and hope his back recovers quickly. We were eager to have Jason as part of the team at Royal Melbourne and his experience will be missed," captain Els said in quotes reported by the official Presidents Cup website.

"The good news is that there were a number of strong and qualified players available to choose from when I made my captain's selections.

"To have someone as steady and talented as Ben An puts us in a great position to succeed. Ben played extremely well this fall and throughout the year and he will fit in nicely on this team."

The event - which sees the United States, captained by Tiger Woods, take on Els' International Team - takes place at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club from December 9-15.

"I'm quite disappointed I won't be coming home to play in either the Australian Open in Sydney or the Presidents Cup the following week in Melbourne," said Day.

"I was quite looking forward to both events. I had been prepping all week in Palm Springs when I was injured. Frustratingly,

"I look forward to playing at home in the near future. My best to all the competitors in Sydney and my team-mates in Melbourne."

On a course where sightings of leopards, monkeys and even elephants are commonplace, it was Wil Besseling who proved a big-game player in the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The Dutchman, one of several players in the field to take advantage of being allowed to wear shorts for the first time on the European Tour, carded a seven-under 65 to sit one shot clear in sweltering heat at Leopard Creek.

A three-man chasing pack consisting of Pablo Larrazabal, Garrick Porteous and Keith Horne provides the closest competition to Besseling, who has never won on the European Tour.

The event marks the start of the new Race to Dubai campaign but world number 47 Eddie Pepperell is the highest ranked player in action in South Africa, the Englishman signing for a modest 71.

Besseling's card showed just one blemish, which came amid a run of three birdies and an eagle across five holes on the back nine. 

"I played nicely," said Besseling in quotes reported by the European Tour website. "It's a great start for the season and a great round. I'm very happy with my 65.

"I had it going nicely on the par fives. I was able to get there in two with irons and converted the birdies and an eagle on 15 really helped."

Horne was not the only man to give the home fans hope of a South African winner, with 2015 champion Branden Grace joining compatriots Daniel van Tonder and Thomas Aiken on four under. 

Tyler Duncan clinched his breakthrough PGA Tour victory after a sudden-death play-off at the RSM Classic.

Thirty-year-old Duncan celebrated his first career win thanks to a birdie on the second extra hole against Webb Simpson on Sunday.

A play-off was needed after Duncan and Simpson finished level at 19 under through 72 holes in Georgia.

Duncan had finished with a flurry by birdieing three of his final four holes, including his remaining two at Sea Island, for a five-under-par 65.

Fellow American and former U.S. Open winner Simpson, meanwhile, carded a final-round 67 on the Seaside Course.

A play-off ensued, and the pair parred the opening hole before Duncan birdied the par-four 18th the second time through.

"Just so happy to be here playing. To come out here and win, it's just unbelievable," Duncan said afterwards.

Colombia's Sebastian Munoz ended the tournament a stroke adrift following his two-under-par 68.

Brendon Todd's hat-trick bid faltered as he finished outright fourth at 16 under after a forgettable two-over-par 72.

Not since Dustin Johnson in 2017 had anyone won three straight starts on the PGA Tour, while not since Tiger Woods in 2006 had anyone claimed three successive tournaments on the Tour schedule.

Todd – coming off wins at the inaugural Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Golf Classic – was unable to secure his third consecutive victory, despite starting the day with a two-shot lead.

Tommy Fleetwood expressed his pride after just missing out on a dream finish to the season and declared it was "Jon's time" after Jon Rahm pulled off a lucrative Dubai double.

Fleetwood made a blistering finish at the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, birdying five of the last seven holes to sign for a seven-under 65 and join Rahm at the top of the leaderboard.

Both players knew a victory at Jumeirah Golf Estates would also be enough to win the Race to Dubai and it was Rahm who achieved that feat, sinking a short birdie putt at the last to card a 68 and finish 19 under.

Fleetwood claimed his first title for 20 months at the Nedbank Golf Challenge seven days earlier and he was left with mixed emotions, but took the positives out of a strong end to 2019.

"Of course there's always going to be a little bit of disappointment there, but for the most part I wasn't in it, I got myself back in it and I am very proud of the way I played on that back nine," said the Englishman.

"Jon's time, Jon's moment. He's played unbelievable this year and fair play, great birdie down the last and I'm just happy with my week."

Fleetwood is looking forward to recharging his batteries before continuing where he left off at the start of next year.

He added: "I'm looking forward to a break first. I'm looking forward to waking up tomorrow with nothing to do. Kids can go to school, Clare [Fleetwood's wife and manager] can do a bit of work and I can do nothing.

"That's going to be really nice and then get back at it when I do get the clubs out again, but for now I'm just ready for a break.

"These last two weeks have definitely painted the season in a brand new light and I have a lot more satisfaction than before. I'll have a break and get ready to crack on next year."

Jon Rahm was crowned this year's Race to Dubai winner after a birdie at the 18th hole secured the DP World Tour Championship for a second time in his career.

The Spaniard had held a six-shot lead at one stage during the final round, only for playing partner Mike Lorenzo-Vera and a fast-finishing Tommy Fleetwood to close the gap and set up a tense finish.

Fleetwood carded five birdies over the final seven holes to set the clubhouse lead at 18 under par, leaving him to sit and watch on as his 2018 Ryder Cup team-mate finished his round.

Rahm found a bunker with his approach shot to the par-five 18th but held his nerve to get over the line, chipping onto the green before rolling in a putt that not only clinched the tournament but also confirmed he will end the season as the European Tour's number one.

"I feel like I'm going to start crying," an emotional Rahm - who also triumphed at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in 2017 - told Sky Sports. "Man, it was such an up-and-down day.

"[On the] eighth tee I had a six-shot lead and I came down 18 needing a birdie to win. It was hard trying to battle out there, I kind of lost the swing a little bit."

He added: "Hard to believe that besides the putt, the first three shots on 18 is about as calm as I've been all day.

"I told myself on 18, 'How many times do you dream of having to birdie the last hole to win a tournament?'. I hit the best drive of the week, a great four iron the wind didn't take, an outstanding bunker shot and then made the putt."

Rahm's eventful score of 68 mixed eight birdies with four bogeys. He had started the week sitting third in the Race to Dubai standings, but a fourth title on the Rolex Series made sure he will finish 2019 on top.

In doing so, the 25-year-old becomes only the second Spaniard to win the European Tour's order of merit, following in the footsteps of the legendary Seve Ballesteros.

As for Fleetwood, his seven-under 65 was enough to finish alone in second place, with three putts on the final green forcing Lorenzo-Vera to settle for third.

Having led the way in the Race to Dubai going into the final event, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger slipped down the final standings after taking a share of 28th place.

Brendon Todd is on track for his third consecutive victory after taking the 54-hole lead at the RSM Classic.

Todd carded a flawless eight-under-par 62 for a two-stroke lead following the third round in Georgia on Saturday.

The 34-year-old American is coming off wins at the inaugural Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Not since Dustin Johnson in 2017 has anyone won three straight starts on the PGA Tour, while not since Tiger Woods in 2006 has anyone claimed three successive tournaments on the Tour schedule.

But Todd is poised for a hat-trick of titles at Sea Island, where he had six birdies on the front side of the Seaside Course and another two after the turn.

"I think I've had to be so disciplined over the last year mentally about just focusing in on ever shot that I'm aiming to kind of use that experience to my advantage now," Todd said.

Todd, who hit every fairway and only missed one green, added: "It was like a video game out there today. Just thrilled with the way I'm hitting it and feeling out there."

Webb Simpson (63) and Sebastian Munoz (66) are two shots off the pace heading into Sunday's final round, while D.J. Trahan (67) is a stroke further back.

Jon Rahm has goosebumps over the thought of emulating the great Seve Ballesteros and becoming Race to Dubai champion.

A six-under-par 66 on Saturday left Rahm in a tie for first alongside Mike Lorenzo-Vera at the DP World Tour Championship after three rounds and in pole position to win the season-long battle for the European Tour's best player.

Ballesteros is the only other Spaniard to have achieved the honour, doing so six times between 1976 and 1991 when it was known as the Order of Merit.

It is an honour that has eluded such Spanish talents as Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez, and Rahm is determined to grasp his opportunity.

"It gives me goosebumps to think about that," he said in quotes reported by the European Tour.

"I've said it many times, as a Spaniard, any time you join or you have the chance to put your name on a list where there's only one name and that name is Seve, it's pretty impactful. 

"It's really emotional for all of us. To think not even Sergio or Miguel Angel or Olly or many other great players couldn't get it done. 

"It's hard to believe that I have the chance to be the second. I'm just going to try to enjoy the afternoon. There's still 18 more holes to play."

Rory McIlroy looms as an ominous presence just two shots off the pace, with Tommy Fleetwood – Rahm's rival in the Race to Dubai – four shots off the lead.

McIlroy, a three-time Race to Dubai victor, recovered from a disappointing 74 on Friday to shoot himself back into contention for the World Tour Championship trophy with a 65.

"You've got Tommy and Jon up there obviously and Mike's holding steady at the top. He played wonderfully yesterday. I played with him and seems like he's doing a similar thing today," McIlroy said. 

"I'm going to have to go out there and shoot a similar score tomorrow to do what I did today to really have a chance. But I'm just really pleased that I got myself back in the golf tournament."

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.

Tyler Duncan opened up a two-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the RSM Classic on Friday.

The American carded a nine-under 61 on the Seaside course at Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia to climb to the top of the leaderboard at 14 under.

Duncan holed an eagle – from 106 yards at the par-four eighth – and seven birdies during a fine second round.

He sits clear of Colombian Sebastian Munoz (63), Australian Rhein Gibson (64) and American D.J. Trahan (63).

Of that trio, only Trahan played the Plantation course on Friday, shooting an impressive nine-under round to get to 12 under.

Ricky Barnes (63 on Plantation) and Fabian Gomez (63 on Seaside) are tied for fifth at 11 under.

Webb Simpson, the overnight leader, could only manage a two-under 68 on the Seaside course to fall to a tie for 11th at nine under.

Defending champion Charles Howell III missed the cut after backing up his opening-round 68 with a 72.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera is wary of being bitten by the "big dogs" chasing him as the battle for the Race to Dubai title hots up at the DP World Tour Championship.

Lorenzo-Vera holds a three-shot lead on 12 under at the halfway mark at Jumeirah Golf Estates after carding a three-under second round of 69 on Friday.

The Frenchman, who signed for a stunning 63 on day one in Dubai, led by seven strokes on the back nine but bogeyed the last after also dropping a shot at 15.

Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm are in a share of second place in what promises to be a dramatic tussle to be crowned European number one on Sunday, with the Englishman in pole position for that honour as it stands.

Bernd Wiesberger, Race to Dubai leader heading into the season-ending tournament, has work to do at three under, while Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick are also in contention.

Rory McIlroy is six shots adrift of leader Lorenzo-Vera, who is braced for a tense weekend as he eyes a maiden European Tour triumph.

The world number 96 said: "Tactically I know what I have to do, and I know that the winds are going to be different this weekend.

"I'm not going to push more than what I'm doing now. I'm trying to trust my putter 100 per cent and that's what I can do.

"I've got a three-shot lead and it's better than three shots behind. It's just going to be stressful because it's big dogs behind me that are going to try to bite me, so it's going to be interesting."

Fleetwood, winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge last weekend, knows he must not suffer a lapse in concentration with so much at stake.

"It's just a classic case of trying to stay in the moment and take each shot as it comes," he said. "There's a lot going on over the weekend; there's a lot of different scenarios and players in the mix.

"There's a lot of things going on around you so the more internally focused you can be and the more you can just stay in your bubble, it will just be a great challenge going into the weekend trying to do that."

Mike Lorenzo-Vera holds a three-shot lead in the DP World Tour Championship, while Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm boosted their chances of winning the Race to Dubai title on Friday.

Lorenzo-Vera started the day with a one-shot lead ahead of Rory McIlroy after signing for an opening 63 - the lowest first round in the history of the tournament.

The Frenchman led by a mammoth seven shots on the back nine at Jumeirah Golf Estates, but his advantage over Fleetwood and Rahm was reduced to three when he bogeyed the last hole.

Lorenzo-Vera, bidding to win a first European Tour title in what is the last event of the season, is 12 under after signing for a three-under 69 on the Earth Course.

The world number 96 started with back-to-back birdies and hit the turn in 33 after further gains at the seventh and eighth holes, but a second dropped shot of his round at 15 and another at 18 mean he is not sitting quite so pretty.

Fleetwood carded a four-under 68 and is course to be crowned European number one for a second time, a seventh birdie of the day at the final hole also enhancing his prospects of winning back-to-back titles.

The Englishman, who claimed the Nedbank Golf Challenge title last weekend, was seven adrift of Lorenzo-Vera when the leader chipped for a birdie at 14, but is well poised in a share of second place with Rahm.

Rahm sunk a putt from around 12 feet for an eagle-three at 18, recovering well on the back nine after a double-bogey at the eighth.

The Spaniard and Fleetwood both know they can be crowned Race to Dubai champion if they finish solo second, provided Bernd Wiesberger fails to shoot up the leaderboard.

Austrian Wiesberger started the season finale as the man to catch and will be guaranteed to fend off the rivals chasing him down if he finishes outright second, but is joint-13th following a 71.

Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick, the other two contenders to win the Race to Dubai, are in a share of 13th and 17th respectively.

McIlroy is six shots off the lead after a disappointing 74, while Tom Lewis sits five behind Lorenzo-Vera on seven under.

Webb Simpson carded a seven-under-par 65 to lead the RSM Classic after the opening round.

Simpson was almost flawless as the American golfer earned a one-stroke lead in Georgia on Thursday.

Playing on Sea Island's Plantation Course – the easier of the two courses used this week – Simpson overcame a slow start, which saw him bogey his second hole.

Simpson was one over par before playing his final 13 holes in eight under to take the first-round lead ahead of Cameron Tringale and Lee Kyoung-hoon – who each played on the Seaside Course – and Rhein Gibson.

"He told me, no matter how I started out, to stay patient," Simpson said of caddie Paul Tesori's advice. "I think he knew scores would be good over there [on the Plantation Course]. He helped me weather the storm."

Simpson – a five-time PGA Tour champion without a win since May 2018 – carded six of his eight birdies on his back nine, closing out the round with three in a row.

"It's been awhile since I've won," 2012 U.S. Open winner Simpson said. "I've given myself chances here. Starting this week, all I wanted was a chance Sunday because I do feel comfortable here."

Scott Harrington, Tyler Duncan, Brian Harman, Alex Cejka, Rory Sabbatini, Scott Brown, Sebastian Munoz, Nick Taylor and Hank Lebioda are five under heading into the second round.

Meanwhile, defending champion Charles Howell III is five strokes off the pace.

Rory McIlroy described his stunning approach to the 18th as "possibly the best shot I've hit all year" as he closed with an eagle to surge into contention on day one of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

The four-time major winner, seeking a third title at Jumeirah Golf Estates, carded a 64 on Thursday to sit one stroke behind leader Mike Lorenzo-Vera at the season-ending European Tour event.

McIlroy pulled clear in second spot, two ahead of Race to Dubai contender Jon Rahm, with a three at the par-five last set up by a booming drive and pinpoint approach shot that landed within three feet of the pin.

"It's possibly the best shot I've hit all year," the world number two told Sky Sports. "It was one of those where if you get it right and you button it, it's going to be perfect.

"The two shots into the last were right up there with the two best shots I've hit this year, I would say.

"I'm feeling comfortable with my game. I have done for the last while. I felt like [this] was just more of the same of how I've been feeling.

"I hit some really quality shots coming in which gives me a lot of confidence going into the next few days."

McIlroy recently added an eye-catching finishing touch to his home, with the addition of a trophy cabinet that he would dearly love to contribute to this weekend.

His wife Erika had the cabinet put in place when McIlroy was busy securing further silverware at last month's WGC-HSBC Champions.

"It's sort of the last room that we've been waiting on to get finished in the house," the Northern Irishman explained. "I like to have [the trophies] out so, in a reflective moment, I can go and have a look at all I've achieved on the golf course the last few years.

"I had not seen them - they were in storage for a year and a half - so just to come back to it was really nice.

"It's a nice reflective moment, but it's also a motivational moment that this is what I can do and I want more of it."

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