Thornton and Hoey slip back in Qatar
 Michael Hoey looks anxiously after his opening drive in the third round of the Qatar Masters. Picture: Eoin Clarke  www.golffile.ie

Michael Hoey looks anxiously after his opening drive in the third round of the Qatar Masters. Picture: Eoin Clarke www.golffile.ie

Michael Hoey and Simon Thornton struggled to 74s and fell eight strokes behind co-leaders Steve Webster and Rafael Cabrera Bello with a round to play in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

As European Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley posted a level par 72 to slip to tied 57th on one under, Hoey had 33 putts while Thornton made two bogeys and a double as they ended the day tied for 39th on four under.

That's two shots worse than 16-year old German amateur Dominic Foos, whose 70 left him three shots better than his illustrious compatriots Martin Kaymer (73) and Marcel Siem (71) on six under par at Doha Golf Club.

At the top of the leader, Webster drew level with overnight leader Cabrera Bello on 12 under par when he shot a 70 in testing conditions. 

 Simon Thornton checks his phone before the third round. Picture: Eoin Clarke  www.golffile.ie

Simon Thornton checks his phone before the third round. Picture: Eoin Clarke www.golffile.ie

Cabrera-Bello posted a one over par 73 to fall back to 12 under alongside Webster, one clear of Thomas Aiken, Thorbjørn Olesen and Adrien Saddier, who outscored a world class field by four shots with a bogey free 64.

Saddier, a 21 year old qualifying school graduate, made the most of his early start by rushing to the turn in just 30 strokes before adding a further two birdies to his card to leap an incredible 42 places up the leaderboard and into a tie for third place on just the fifth European Tour start of his career.

Despite surrendering a three-stroke lead on day three, Cabrera-Bello remains the favourite to take the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters title on Saturday afternoon, and the Spaniard is relishing the chance to add another of The European Tour’s ‘desert swing’ titles to the Dubai Desert Classic crown he lifted in 2012.

“It's definitely been tougher today. The wind has picked up and it's made everything a bit more difficult,” said the Spaniard.

“I'm a little bit disappointed for not having to keep a couple shots ahead of the pack. I did see I was three shots ahead at one point but I knew there was still lots of golf to play, and anything could happen.

“We know that anything can happen so it doesn't really matter if you're leading or two or three back at this stage – as long as you are at the top of the leaderboard after round four is all that really matters and hopefully tomorrow I can play as well as I did in the first two rounds and that will be enough.” 

Complete Round Three Scores

204 R Cabrera-Bello (Esp), S Webster (Eng), 

205 T Olesen (Den), A Saddier (Fra), T Aiken (RSA), 

206 M Ilonen (Fin), P Lawrie (Sco), F Zanotti (Par), G Coetzee (RSA), J Carlsson (Swe), 

207 S Garcia (Esp), K Broberg (Swe), D Van Der Walt (RSA), B Grace (RSA), 

208 P Uihlein (USA), S Benson (Eng), D Fichardt (RSA), M Baldwin (Eng), S Dyson (Eng), 

209 C Del Moral (Esp), A Cañizares (Esp), R Wattel (Fra), F Calmels (Fra), 

210 G Bhullar (Ind), A Quiros (Esp), S Manley (Wal), G Stal (Fra), R Bland (Eng), M Carlsson (Swe), B Koepka (USA), S Kapur (Ind), D Foos (am) (Ger), 

211 S Hansen (Den), P Hanson (Swe), J Quesne (Fra), T Hatton (Eng), T Lewis (Eng), C Lee (Sco), 

212 S Thornton (Irl), R Rock (Eng), S Gallacher (Sco), A Wall (Eng), M Hoey (Nir), 

213 M Siem (Ger), H Otto (RSA), J Olazábal (Esp), T Jaidee (Tha), D Willett (Eng), J Daly (USA), H Stenson (Swe), R Fisher (Eng), M Kaymer (Ger), 

214 R Santos (Por), E Els (RSA), R Karlsson (Swe), C Wood (Eng), 

215 N Elvira (Esp), C Doak (Sco), R Derksen (Ned), P McGinley (Irl), J Singh (Ind), L Donald (Eng), R Dinwiddie (Eng), S Kjeldsen (Den), 

216 W Ormsby (Aus), M Foster (Eng), J Morrison (Eng), M Fraser (Aus), 

217 T Fleetwood (Eng), V Riu (Fra), J Lima (Por), 

218 M Crespi (Ita), 

219 E Grillo (Arg), J Dufner (USA), E Pepperell (Eng), 

220 L Slattery (Eng).