McIlroy edges ahead at DP World Tour Championship

 

 

Rory McIlroy will take a one shot lead into the final round of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai after producing another dramatic finish in an entertaining round of 67. 

The four-time Major Champion, who is aiming to become the first three-time winner of the event, dropped a shot on the first but then rattled off six birdies in the next 12 holes to return to the top of the leaderboard in the final Rolex Series event of 2021.

“I thought I did well considering the start,” said McIlroy. “Hit a nice little snap-hook with a three wood off the first tee out of nowhere, and I’ve been hitting that three wood pretty well all week. I guess I missed the first two tee shots on the first two days right into the right desert, so I was maybe guarding against that one a little bit.

McIlroy had been on course for a wire-to-wire victory until a double bogey finish to his second round when he found water on the 18th. This time it was the hazard on the par three 17th which threatened to halt his progress, but his tee shot eventually teetered on the rocks and he produced a remarkable pitch from there to the edge of the green, before shaving the hole with his first putt and emerging with only a bogey.

He then made amends for his seven the previous day on the 18th hole, holing a ten foot birdie putt to move to 14 under par, one clear of Englishman Sam Horsfield, who signed for a round of 69. Horsfield made his move on the back nine when he followed an eagle on the 14th with back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th, but he dropped a shot on the last after finding the fairway bunker to finish on 13 under par.

It was a similar tale for Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre who picked up four shots in five holes after the turn, having eagled the seventh on the front nine. He also dropped a shot on the last and he will start the final round two shots back on 12 under par after a round of 67.

“We set a game plan at the start of the week, and tried to execute it as good as we could,” said MacIntyre. “We had the idea of 4-under every round. Yesterday I dropped a shot; today I gained a shot. So, we are right in the position that I was planning on being in.

MacIntyre shares third position with Sweden’s Alexander Björk, who posted a round of 69, while Open Champion Collin Morikawa consolidated his grip on the Race to Dubai title with a round of 69 to share fifth position on 11 under par with compatriot John Catlin (71), Denmark’s Joachim B Hansen (68) and Ireland’s Shane Lowry (71).

Morikawa remains ahead of all five of the players who could potentially deny him the chance to become the first American to win the Race to Dubai, with Matt Fitzpatrick (tied 13th) and Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey (tied 17th) the best placed of that quintet.

 

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