Tommy Fleetwood retains Abu Dhabi Championship as Sergio Garcia wins in Singapore

Austin Cook watches his tee shot on the 17th hole during the third round of the Career Builder Challenge golf tournament at La Quinta Country Club Saturday Jan. 20 2018 in La Quinta Calif

Briton Ross Fisher and Belgian Thomas Pieters shared the lead after Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship third round on Saturday, with four-times major victor Rory McIlroy trailing by a shot.

In the end, there was no fairytale return to the European Tour for Rory McIlroy, but no real shame either in a tie for third place in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Fleetwood and the rest also looked like they were playing for second as Fisher roared into a four shot lead with an eagle and two birdies in the first seven holes.

"I feel like I'm almost the most prepared for a season that I've ever been, but it was nice to get back out there and it was a great pairing to start off with". I don't know why.

"Where I've come from the last three months just in terms of my health and my golf and everything, I'm in a much better place now than when I sort of left the game for a little bit in October", McIlroy said.

Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National a year ago, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

"To keep it going and hit form early is great". "It's a unusual feeling because you feel quite possessive over your trophy and you don't really want to give it back". Keeping hold of it for another year is very nice,"said Fleetwood".

Last year's Race to Dubai champion secured a third tournament victory since the start of last year with an inward half of 30.

"My game is in really good shape and I saw some really, really positive signs", McIlroy, who has slipped to 11th in the rankings, said.

The four-time major victor had gone 50 holes without making a bogey before his run finally ended at 15 - it was the world number 11's longest bogey-free run on the European Tour. He's a great addition to the world of golf, a great addition to the European Tour and will be a great addition to the Ryder Cup team in September.

"Same as the last three days", added McIlroy.

"I think I might have been a couple ahead, so I figured, right, I need to knuckle down and play a good, solid back nine". I mean, 65 in those conditions is seriously impressive. "Really happy with that, and yeah, just looking forward to getting back at it again next week and trying to put myself in contention again".



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