Rory McIlroy surges into commanding lead at Hero Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy made eight birdies in the third round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic to take a three-shot lead over Dan Bradbury and Callum Shinkwin.

Rory McIlroy surges into commanding lead at Hero Dubai Desert Classic
Rory McIlroy surges into commanding lead at Hero Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy is on course to win the Hero Dubai Desert Classic for the third time after a stunning 65 took him to the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.

McIlroy opened the third round with four birdies in his first four holes to hit the top of the pile at Emirates Golf Club, having started the day two shots behind Richard Bland, Michael Thorbjornsen and Thomas Pieters.

The Northern Irishman, looking for the third win in his last seven starts, added four more birdies in his last six holes but a bogey on the last added a small, sour taste to what was an impressive display.

McIlroy is certainly providing the answers to his European friend Jon Rahm who is gunning for his place at World No.1. McIlroy has the opportunity not only to win a 15th DP World Tour title, but to solidify his place at the summit of the rankings.

He is once again letting his golf do the talking after the beginning of his week was dominated by an exchange, or lack of exchange, with Patrick Reed on the driving range.

Reed shot a 3-under 69 on Sunday to move to 11-under. He is four shots behind McIlroy and he is one of four LIV Golf players who are also looking to cut this deficit to the leader on Monday.

The good times are still here for Bradbury who won his first DP World Tour title at the Joburg Open in November. His 68 took him to joint second place with Shinkwin as both players look for their first win in the Rolex Series.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship winner Victor Perez is just four shots behind too and Ryan Fox shot an impressive 66 on day three to reach 10-under and in the thick of the mix. 

There were no fireworks in the group containing Henrik Stenson, Luke Donald and Tyrrell Hatton as some might have suspected. The axed Ryder Cup captain shot 2-under while the current European skipper struggled to a 74.

Hero Dubai Desert Classic - Round three leaderboard

-15 R McIlroy

-12 D Bradbury, C Shinkwin

-11 P Reed, V Perez, S Norris, I Poulter, A Hidalgo, A Arnaus, R Bland

-10 R Fox, J Harding, C Hill, J Brun, M Wallace, L Herbert, M Kinhult

-9 A Bjork, P Larrazabal, J Veerman, L De Jager, B Wiesberger, T Pieters, M Thorbjornsen



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