Fabulous finish sends Finau clear as Rose stumbles

Tony Finau during round three of the WGC-HSBC Champions

Justin Rose looked to have secured the third-round lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions, only for Tony Finau to swiftly reclaim top spot.

A stunning five-shot swing over the final two holes of round three saw Tony Finau regain control of the WGC-HSBC Champions as defending champion Justin Rose slipped back into a tie for second.

Finau had led by three overnight at 11 under, but was two over through 12 on Saturday and saw Rose – who is looking to become only the second man after Tiger Woods to retain a World Golf Championships title – take charge at the top of the leaderboard.

The Englishman appeared set to be in pole position heading into the final round when he moved to five under for the day and 13 under for the week – two clear of Finau – with a sixth birdie of the day at the 16th.

However, Rose then finished double-bogey, bogey and Finau took full advantage by following a birdie at 16 with further gains on 17 and 18.

That left the American three clear once again, with Rose alongside first-round leader Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele at 10 under. Schauffele’s third-round 69, which included a double-bogey at the sixth, saw him make up a solitary stroke on Finau, Rose and Reed.

“It was a good finish. I needed it,” said Finau. “I’m really pleased to still have the lead going into tomorrow. I feel pretty fortunate.

“There’s 18 holes to play, I know there’s a world-class field. I’ve got to keep my head down for 18 more holes and just keep doing my thing. I didn’t give up and that’s always my mentality, just keep fighting until the end.”

Tommy Fleetwood’s hopes of overhauling Race to Dubai leader Francesco Molinari, who is way down the field this week at 10 over, were dented as the Englishman shot 72 to slip five off the pace. Fleetwood and Reed are Molinari’s nearest rivals but would each need a win this week to take over top spot.

World number one Brooks Koepka is two over after a 71, while Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy slipped to four and eight over respectively.

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