Scottish golf guest Colsaerts in contention in Dubai

Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts carded a third-round 66 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Picture: Kamran Jebreili/AP

Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts carded a third-round 66 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Picture: Kamran Jebreili/AP

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Nicolas Colsaerts may not be such a strange choice as guest of honour at next month’s PGA in Scotland annual lunch in Glasgow. The charismatic Belgian will certainly have plenty to talk about, after all, if he’s appearing at that event as the £6.4 million DP World Tour Championship winner.

It’s a possibility. Colsaerts heads into the final round on the Greg Norman-designed Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates among a posse of players in contention. After a low-scoring day in Dubai, he’s lying joint-second, a shot behind Victor Dubuisson. The Frenchman also has talented English duo, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton, breathing down his neck in the battle for a mammoth top prize of £1,052,102.

Another Englishman, 2009 winner Lee Westwood, is a shot further back alongside Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello and Italian Francesco Molinari. With a two-shot gap after that, the title tussle looks set to be fought out by those seven players. Rory McIlroy, the defending champion, has eight shots to make up on Dubuisson, as does Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson. The battle for the money-list title has been a damp squib in the season finale. After making five birdies in his last seven holes, the Swede will almost certainly claim that today. As for the winner of the event, that’s anyone’s guess, really.

Colsaerts, of course, helped Europe pull off the Miracle at Medinah in the 2012 Ryder Cup. With Westwood as his partner, he made eight birdies on his own in the first-day fourballs as the pair beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Thomas Pieters has since become Belgian golf’s blue-eyed boy, but Colsaerts could be about to come out of his compatriot’s shadow in style. Becoming Tour champion would be a nice late birthday present, having turned 34 last Monday. His third-round 66 was, well, typical Colsaerts. It contained two eagles – at the seventh and 18th – six birdies and four bogeys. “It’s in my personality to go to both extremes,” he admitted. “Maybe it’s just a matter of accepting you might make a couple of mistakes, but, when you play good, it usually turns out quite well.”

It could turn out very well, indeed, for PGA chief executive Sandy Jones, the man who invited Colsaerts to the Glasgow soiree, if the 6ft 3in Brussels-born player claims his third European Tour title today. “I feel very flattered to be the guest of honour at such an occasion and to speak in front of such a knowledgeable Scottish audience,” he admitted. “In the early days I used to hang about with a lot of the Scottish boys, like Marc Warren and Barry Hume. So I am looking forward to it.”

In terms of personality, Dubuisson is Colsaerts’ polar opposite. His interviews are like pulling teeth, both for him and us. The 26-year-old from Antibes on the French Rivieria is a man for big occasions, though. His two wins to date on the European Tour both came in the Turkish Airlines Open, another Final Series event. The 64 that catapulted him into pole position here was illuminated by a holed second shot at the 407-yard par-4 fifth. “I like the way this course sets up,” declared Dubuisson of a venue where he’s already finished second and third and now has a chance to improve on those eye-catching efforts. The eye-catching third-round score came from Cabrera-Bello, who bagged nine birdies and stormed home in 30 for a 63 as he catapulted into contention along with Dunhill Links champion Hatton (67) and Fitzpatrick (66). Westwood birdied three of the last four holes in his gritty 69.

l Turkish Airlines fly daily five times per week in the winter from Edinburgh to Dubai via Istanbul with no charge for golf clubs. Check out www.turkishairlines.com for flights and prices

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