Rory McIlroy’s 65 leaves him right in the mix in Dubai

Jon Rahm and Mike Lorenzo-Vera hold the joint lead heading into the final round

Rory McIlroy acknowledges the crowd during the third round of the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. Photo: Ali Haider/EPA

Rory McIlroy acknowledges the crowd during the third round of the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. Photo: Ali Haider/EPA

 

The chase is on. Rory McIlroy will head into Sunday’s final round of the DP World Tour Championship on The Earth course in Dubai with a chance to add the European Tour’s season-ending tournament to the Tour Championship he has already claimed on the PGA Tour in the United States.

McIlroy crafted a third round 65, the best of the day, to reach the 54-hole stage of the tournament – which has a $3 million payday to the winner – on 13-under-par 203, two strokes behind co-leaders Jon Rahm of Spain and Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera. Shane Lowry shot a 70 for 211, three under, to be in tied-11th.

“I’ve got to play another really good round of golf tomorrow to have a chance, but it would be awesome to win around here again, and obviously cap off what has been a great 2019,” said McIlroy of his mindset ahead of the final round.

Having struggled to a 74 on Friday, McIlroy spent a considerable amount of time on the range trying to resolve his problems. “Sometimes when I hit a lot of shots into the wind, I get a bit too much on my left side on the way down, and my left knee starts to go forward. My arms get too deep in the downswing and then I start missing it left, basically . . . (on the range) I was just trying to really feel like my left knee gets out of the way so my arms can come down in front of me a little bit more and I can start the ball a little bit more online. I just worked on that.”

It worked a treat, as his 65 – five birdies and an eagle in a bogey-free round – saw McIlroy move ominously into contention. The highlight of the Northern Irishman’s third round was an eagle three on the Par 5 seventh hole, where he hit a 5-wood approach from 255 yards and rolled in the short eagle putt. But it was a clutch par save putt on the 18th, where he hit his approach into the hazard, that had him fist-pumping the air as he sought to carry the momentum onward into the final round.

Lowry struggled for a large part of his round but persevered to be on the fringes of the top-10 heading into the final day. “Golf is such a funny game, it’s chalk and cheese how I played the last couple of days but similar enough score . . . . I did what I do best today, got the ball around in as few strokes as I could have,” said the Offalyman, who birdied the last to get to five-under.

Shane Lowry hits out of a bunker. Photo: Ali Haider/EPA
Shane Lowry hits out of a bunker. Photo: Ali Haider/EPA

He added: “I’ve one more (competitive) round of what has been a pretty good year. I will set myself a target, double figures maybe, so if I can shoot five under that’s a decent target to have.”

Lorenzo-Vera held a four stroke lead over Rahm as he started the back nine, but the Spaniard enjoyed a bogey-free homeward run featuring four birdies to sign for a 66 while a closing bogey from the Frenchman left the pair locked together at the top of the leaderboard. A win for Rahm also would propel him to the Race to Dubai order of merit when it matters most.

LEADERBOARD

(British and Irish unless stated, par 72)

201 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 63 69 69, Jon Rahm (Esp) 66 69 66

203 Rory McIlroy 64 74 65

205 Tommy Fleetwood 67 68 70

206 Thomas Pieters (Bel) 70 68 68

207 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 68 71 68

208 Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 71 67 70, Danny Willett 69 72 67

210 Tom Lewis 67 70 73, Matthew Fitzpatrick 71 71 68

211 Andy Sullivan 70 74 67, Shane Lowry 73 68 70, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 71 73 67, Guido Migliozzi (Ita) 73 70 68, Thomas Detry (Bel) 69 71 71

212 Adri Arnaus (Esp) 70 70 72, Justin Rose 69 70 73, Paul Casey 73 73 66, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 69 73 70

213 Matt Wallace 70 74 69, Joost Luiten (Ned) 74 71 68, Robert Macintyre 71 74 68, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 70 70 73

214 David Lipsky (USA) 72 71 71, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 73 72 69, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 70 71 73, Patrick Reed (USA) 74 68 72, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 71 72 71

215 Jason Scrivener (Aus) 71 72 72, Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 74 73 68, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 68 73 74

216 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 69 76 71, Justin Harding (Rsa) 73 73 70, Paul Waring 71 77 68, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 71 72 73, Romain Langasque (Fra) 71 74 71, Matthew Southgate 75 71 70

217 Jordan Smith 74 73 70, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 70 74 73, Lee Westwood 73 70 74

218 Victor Perez (Fra) 73 73 72, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 72 76 70

220 Haotong Li (Chn) 69 77 74, Ian Poulter 74 76 70, Aaron Rai 75 69 76

221 Tyrrell Hatton 73 79 69, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 74 70 77

222 Andrea Pavan (Ita) 77 74 71

223 Kurt Kitayama (USA) 71 75 77

224 Scott Hend (Aus) 76 75 73

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