Andy Sullivan and Rory McIlroy reflect on their one and two leader board standings heading into the final day of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
The Englishman carded a 68 in his third round of the week and is one-shot ahead of the Irishman at -16, but Mcllroy is in a strong position to win his third Race to Dubai crown in four years.
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Rory McIlroy made the ideal start as he set out to win the DP World Tour Championship and end the season as European number one for the third time in four years.
McIlroy began the third round four shots behind England’s Andy Sullivan but cut his deficit in half in the space of four holes at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.
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The four-time major winner birdied the first from six feet, two-putted the par-five second for another and also holed from 10 feet on the fourth to move to 11 under par, two behind Sullivan who had also birdied the second.
McIlroy leads Danny Willett by just 1,613 points in the Race to Dubai but was now four shots ahead of the Englishman, who had carded two birdies and one bogey in his first eight holes.
— Sport360° (@Sport360) November 21, 2015
Former US Open champion Justin Rose could also win his second money list title but needs to finish second or better and was alongside Willett on seven under after cancelling out a birdie on the second with a bogey on the fourth.
Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo, who almost hit McIlroy with a tee shot during the Frys.com Open last month before going on to win his first PGA Tour title, was alongside the world number three on 11 under, with former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel a shot further back.
The most spectacular golf of the day so far had come from England’s Lee Slattery, who played his last five holes in six under par thanks to eagles on the 14th and 15th and birdies on the next two holes.
A par on the last gave Slattery an inward nine of 30 and a third round of 68 to lie one under.
— Sport360° (@Sport360) November 21, 2015
Sullivan’s lead was down to a single shot when he carded just his second bogey of the week on the fourth after failing to get up and down from a bunker.
And although the 29-year-old soon restored his two-shot lead with a birdie from 12 feet on the next, McIlroy closed the gap once more by chipping to two feet on the par-five seventh to set up his fourth birdie of the day.
Sullivan edged two clear once more with a two-putt birdie on the seventh and although McIlroy closed within one again with a birdie on the 10th, the world number three then bogeyed the 12th after finding a fairway bunker off the tee.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 21, 2015
Willett had not given up hope of denying McIlroy the Race to Dubai title and followed a birdie on the 14th by driving the green on the next, where the tee had been brought forward, and holing from 30 feet for an eagle two.
That lifted the world number 21 to 10 under par and just two shots behind McIlroy and American Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed, who lost a play-off for the BMW Masters on Sunday.
American Patrick Reed is greatly enjoying his European Tour journey and not even a heart-breaking play-off loss last week can ruin his happiness.
The 25-year-old Texan was paired with Kristoffer Broberg, the man who beat him in extra holes at Lake Malaren in Shanghai during the BMW Masters, but he showed absolutely no scars after a round of seven-under par 65 helped him climb up to third place at nine-under par, just three shots behind leader Andy Sullivan.
And Reed, who made five birdies in his last six holes Friday, explained: “Golf is a game where you can’t let everything distract you and bother you.
“You’re going to have time where you close out events and you’re going to have other times where you let some slip away. You’re going to hit some good shots and end up getting bad bounces, and you’re going to have bad shots and get good bounces.
“It’s how you handle all of it and how you move forward. I felt like I’ve done that pretty well and matured in that aspect of the game to not let anything linger on.”
Reed, the only American to pursue his card on both sides of the Atlantic, had started the year in brilliant fashion, winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, but hasn’t added any silverware after that despite coming close on several occasions.
He was tied third in the Hong Kong Open, and then seventh in the WGC-HSBC Champions and second at BMW Masters.
And the man now ranked 14th in the world and 15th in Race to Dubai said: “It’s always been a goal of mine to come over to Europe and play well.
“I feel very comfortable with how I’ve been playing. Out of the seven weeks we’ve played, I’ve finished inside the top-10 five times. Haven't closed one out.
“I'd say probably I am a little more determined this week to at least have a chance to come down on Sunday again. I’d love could cap of the year with a ‘W’ (win), that would always be nice.”