Sports

Grace, Wiesberger remain among Qatar Masters leaders

Doha, Qatar (SportsNetwork.com) - Branden Grace and Bernd Wiesberger both birdied the final hole on Friday to remain tied for the lead after three rounds of the Qatar Masters.

Grace and Wiesberger both shot 4-under 68 in round three. They were joined atop the leaderboard at 13-under-par 203 by Marc Warren and Emiliano Grillo, who both carded 5-under 67s on Friday at Doha Golf Club.

Eddie Pepperell fired a 7-under 65, the low round of the day by two strokes, to soar into a share of fifth place at minus-11. He stands alongside Alejandro Canizares (68) and George Coetzee (70). Coetzee had shared the 36-hole lead with Grace and Wiesberger.

Oliver Fisher posted a 3-under 69 and he is alone in eighth place at 9-under 207. Former U.S. Amateur winner Byeong-hun An (72) and 2003 champion Darren Fichardt (71) are among six players tied for ninth at 8-under-par 208.

Grace opened with a birdie at the first, but he faltered to a back-to-back bogeys at three and four. He quickly recovered those strokes as he birdied the Nos. 5 and 6. His birdie at the fifth came after a remarkable wedge shot from the trees.

"I actually didn't hit that bad a tee shot. I thought I was just in the rough on the right and my ball must have had a big bounce to the right. Where it finished, I thought, this is going to take some magic," Grace said of the fifth. "I could only hit a big, snap hook wedge and when I hit it, I couldn't see the ball. We heard the claps and next thing you know, I managed to make a nice little 5-footer for birdie. That definitely got it kick started."

The South African parred three in a row from the seventh. Around the turn, Grace birdied the 10th to move to 11-under. After a pair of pars, he inched within one of the lead as he birdied the 13th. Grace rolled in a 6-foot birdie effort at the 18th to gain a piece of the lead.

Wiesberger birdied the second and third to move into the lead at minus-11. After he was joined there, Wiesberger again moved in front as he birdied the par-3 eighth from 15 feet out.

The Austrian birdied the 12th to climb to 13-under, where he led by one. At the drivable 16th, he pulled his tee shot left of the green. He failed to reach the green with his second.

Wiesberger's third ran well by the hole and he 2-putted for bogey to slip one back. He atoned for that mistake with a 5-foot birdie putt at the last.

"It was just that bad swing on 16, which cost me a bogey there, so it's really a 2-shot swing on a short hole like that," Wiesberger stated. "I finished nicely with a birdie and it gives me a bit of momentum for tomorrow."

Warren birdied the second and sixth, both for the second day in a row. He converted consecutive birdie tries at nine and 10.

The Scotsman dipped to 11-under as he bogeyed the 14th. Warren came right back with birdies at 15 and 16 to grab a share of the lead. He closed with a pair of pars to end at minus-13.

Grillo ran off sixth consecutive pars to open his round. He caught fire starting with a birdie at the seventh. Grillo poured in three straight birdie efforts from the ninth to jump into a tie for the lead at minus-12.

After four pars in a row, Grillo 2-putted for birdie from just short of the green at No. 16. He parred the final two holes to cap a bogey-free round.

NOTES: Of the four leaders, Grillo is the only one without a European Tour victory ... Grace earned his fifth tour win in December at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, while Warren picked up his third title last year and Wiesberger won twice in the 2012 campaign ... Grace is 5-0 when owning at least a piece of the 54-hole ... Defending champion Sergio Garcia dropped seven strokes in six holes as he struggled to a 5-over 77, which left him a 1-under 215 ... World No. 2 Henrik Stenson posted his second straight 71 and stands at minus-4, while former U.S. Open champion Justin Rose shot 3-under 69 and is tied for 22nd at 6-under-par 210 ... Canizares last made a bogey in the final round at Abu Dhabi last week and has played 68 bogey-free holes since.