McIlroy takes narrow lead into final day in Dubai

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Nov 20 (Reuters) – Rory McIlroy will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the DP World Tour Championship after the four-time main winner carded a five-under-par 67 in the third spherical on Saturday.

The Northern Irishman got here into day three one shot off the tempo, however blended seven birdies with two bogeys to reclaim prime spot on the leaderboard at 14-under, a shot forward of Englishman Sam Horsfield in second place.

McIlroy had ended day two with a double bogey and started day three in an analogous vein, with a bogey on the primary gap after an errant tee shot, however he righted the ship with consecutive birdies on the second and third.

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He made additional good points on the sixth and the ninth to make the activate 33, and added two extra birdies on the eleventh and thirteenth earlier than a bogey on the par-three seventeenth noticed him slip again briefly into second place.

But the 32-year-old held his nerve on 18th, which he had double bogeyed in the second spherical, sinking a nine-foot putt for his final birdie of an eventful spherical to assert a slender benefit on the European Tour’s season-ending occasion.

“I’m right where I want to be,” McIlroy stated. “I want to be contending on Sundays in golf tournaments and feel like I’m back to playing the way I should.”

“I got off to a really nice start on the back nine. I gave myself a good chance on 14 and 16 and didn’t convert those. Then bogey on 17, which in the end was a good bogey.

“I simply thought it was essential to make birdie on the final to get into the final group as nicely. I knew that putt was to get into the final group and I wished to try this, so it was a pleasant approach to end.”

Horsfield, who started in a three-way tie for first, struck three birdies and an eagle, offset by two bogeys, to sit a shot behind McIlroy and one ahead of Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre and Sweden’s Alexander Bjork, who were tied for third on 12-under.

Horsfield’s co-leaders after day two, Irishman Shane Lowry and American John Catlin, were tied for fifth place in a group of five players on 11-under, which included Race to Dubai leader Collin Morikawa.

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Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Golf - The 2020 Ryder Cup - Whistling Straits, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, U.S. - September 26, 2021 Team Europe's Rory McIlroy reacts after holing his putt on the 1st green during the Singles REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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