McIlroy leads in Dubai ahead of Monday's finish
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Rory McIlroy leads the Dubai Desert Classic into the weather-delayed final round by three shots despite dumping his second shot into the water guarding the 18th green on Sunday.
Despite the bogey on his last hole, the world No1 signed for a third round seven-under-par 65.
That helped McIlroy move to 15-under ahead of Monday's conclusion -- three clear of English duo Callum Shinkwin (67) and Dan Bradbury (68) tied for second at 12 under.
For McIlroy it was a sense of deja vu as last year he found the same water on the 18th to lose the Desert Classic title to Viktor Hovland.
Last week’s Abu Dhabi champion Victor Perez (66) was among a large group tied for fourth place at 11-under par.
That included five LIV Golf players –- Patrick Reed (69), Ian Poulter (69), Shaun Norris (67), Adri Arnaus (70) and Richard Bland (71).
McIlroy started the day at 8-under par after an indifferent second round of 70, but four birdies in the first four holes lifted him to a share of the lead.
He then made eight straight pars, before another stretch of four birdies in five holes. The finale was a disappointing bogey.
McIlroy is guaranteed to retain his No1 position after Spain’s Jon Rahm came up short in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour.
The world No3 needed a third place or better to have a chance of dislodging the Northern Irishman.
Organisers were forced into staging the fourth round on Monday after a deluge caused havoc at the start of the tournament.