Rory McIlroy making his move in Dubai
Defending champion Rory McIlroy continued to fight back from his worst ever round in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on Saturday.
McIlroy has won the European Tour’s season-finale twice and never finished worse than 11th in seven appearances at Jumeirah Golf Estates, with a 72 in 2010 his worst score in 28 rounds before this week.
The world number two could only manage an opening 75 to lie 55th in the 60-man field, but bounced back with a 68 on Friday and picked up four more shots in his first 10 holes on day three.
McIlroy unsurprisingly birdied the two par fives on the front nine, the second and seventh, but also picked up a shot on the ninth and started the back nine with another birdie on the 10th.
That took the four-time major winner to five under par and within four shots of overnight l eaders Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari as the former Ryder Cup team-mates began their rounds.
Garcia and Molinari soon had company on nine under par as Lee Westwood birdied the first, with F rance’s Victor Dubuisson just a shot behind after following a birdie on the second by spinning his second shot to the fifth back into the hole for an eagle.
South Africa’s Branden Grace had set the early clubhouse target on five under after a superb 65, the lowest round of the week so far.
McIlroy picked up his fifth birdie of the day on the 15th but was struggling to make much ground as birdies and eagles were the order of the day around the course.
Westwood briefly held a two-shot lead after chipping in for an eagle on the second, only to bogey the fourth and fifth, the latter by three-putting from four feet.
The 43-year-old’s former Ryder Cup partner Nicolas Colsaerts then took over at the top of the leaderboard with four birdies and an eagle in the space of six holes, only to be joined on 11 under by Matt Fitzpatrick, who had also eagled the seventh.