Before this week in Dubai, the last time we saw Rory McIlroy tee it up was in Vegas for the CJ Cup. He won. This week, he’s just 18 holes away from winning in consecutive starts.
After making double on the par-5 last on Friday, McIlroy opened his Saturday stroll with a bogey. He would bounce back quickly, however, making three birdies before making the turn with a 3-under 33. The four-time major champion would add three more birdies and a bogey to his scorecard coming home for a third-round 5-under 67.
“Thought I did well considering the start. I hit a nice little snap-hook 3-wood off the first tee,” McIlroy said with a smile following a birdie on 18 Saturday. “After the bogey on one, responded well with birdies on two and three.”
The highlight of the Irishman’s round was what he called “a good bogey.”
“I just thought it was important to make birdie at the last, to get into the final group as well. I knew that putt was probably to get into the final group, and I wanted to do that.”
McIlroy has the chance to be the first player to ever win this championship for the third time.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m right where I want to be, I want to be contending on Sundays in golf tournaments. I feel like I’m back to playing the way I should, and the way that will get me back contending. I’m excited.”
Rory McIlroy poses with the trophies for winning the Race To Dubai and DP World Tour Championship in 2015.
Just one shot back of McIlroy is Sam Horsfield, who admittedly didn’t quite have his A-game on Saturday.
“It was a little sloppy, it wasn’t my best stuff. It was nice to make that eagle on 14, made like a 60 footer across the green, so that was nice,” Horsfield said after his round. “I got a little aggressive on 18 trying to hit driver up there in the narrow part and it bit me in the butt.”
Horsfield will look to win for the third time on the European Tour, and first since August 2020.
Two back of McIlroy sits Alexander Bjork, and Robert MacIntyre. 36-hole leader Shane Lowry, Collin Morikawa, John Catlin, and Joachim Hansen sit three back at 11 under.