McIlroy in a class of his own in the desert

Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:03am EST
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By Bernie McGuire

DUBAI, (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy was in a class of his own on Saturday, seizing a four-shot lead with a six-under-par 66 after the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

The world number one reeled off five birdies in the opening eight holes before picking up his sixth shot of a faultless round at the 17th to finish with a 20-under tally of 196.

Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen (66), chasing his second European Tour win, was in second place on 200, two ahead of Britain's Lee Westwood (69).

"The front nine was very good as I didn't put a foot wrong and when I missed a short putt on 10 it seemed like that momentum I had just sort of went away and I had to scramble a little bit for pars coming in," McIlroy told reporters.

"It was nice then to make a birdie on 17 ... and to go out there today with no bogeys for a second day in a row."

McIlroy heads to Dublin on Monday for a High Court date to settle a long-running dispute with his former management company but that seemed the furthest thing from his mind.

"I felt like today, for the first time this week, I struggled a little bit but felt like I kept it together nicely and didn't drop any shots on the way in," said the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic winner.

"We know in this game you can take nothing for granted. I've been in this position many times before so I know the pitfalls that are waiting out there.    Continued...

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits the ball on the 10th hole during the Dubai Desert Classic, January 31, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer