February 17, 2018 / 3:39 PM / 7 months ago

Southgate endures roller-coaster round to share lead in Oman

(Reuters) - England’s Matthew Southgate dropped four shots in four holes on Saturday before recovering on the back nine to share the lead with Joost Luiten of the Netherlands and Julien Guerrier of France going into the final round of the Oman Open.

Golf - European Tour - Dubai Duty Free Irish Open - Portstewart, Northern Ireland, Britain - July 6, 2017 England's Matthew Southgate in action during the first round Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Southgate, 29, who overcame testicular cancer in 2015, shot a three-under 69 to stand at 12 under for the tournament but had to endure a roller-coaster round to get back into contention.

Three birdies at the start of the round helped Southgate go three clear at the top early on but bogeys at the fourth and sixth holes dragged him back. A double-bogey at the seventh added to his woes but he recovered ground with a birdie on the ninth.

Southgate showed a lot more composure on the back nine, firing three more birdies to give himself a shot at the title at Al Mouj Golf.

“The birdie at nine was big,” Southgate said. “It takes a big heart to hit shots like that because a part of you wants to go and hide in a corner and cry.

“People say, ‘keep going’, but I’m not going to walk in. You can do two things, you can hide behind your caddie and sulk and knock it around in level or over par, or you can take it on the chin, rise up to the challenge and try to hit good golf shots.”

Luiten and Guerrier shot rounds of 66 to stay in the hunt while England’s Chris Wood was a shot behind the leaders after a round of 69. Overnight leader Matthieu Pavon was tied seventh.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Lovell

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