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Rory McIlroy is back in contention to win the DP World Tour as he closes in on Jon Rahm

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Rory McIlroy is back in contention to win the DP World Tour as he closes in on Jon Rahm

Rory McIlroy is once again in contention to win the DP World Tour as he closes in on Jon Rahm with a brilliant round of 65 in Dubai… the Northern Irishman will be looking to add the title to his FedExCup victory earlier this year

  • Rory McIlroy is once again in contention to win the DP World Tour after a difficult start
  • The Northern Irishman struggled in the first two rounds but shot 65 in the third
  • McIlroy is looking to add the DP World Tour title to his 2022 FedExCup triumph
  • Jon Rahm is currently tied for the lead at -15 – one shot ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick

A messy start followed by a finish of great quality. In many ways, Rory McIlroy’s stunning third round in Dubai mirrored his wider stay at a tournament that suddenly offers him the prospect of two major victories in one day.

For most of the opening two rounds, the world No 1’s form has indicated that he will not only fall short in his challenge to win the DP World Tour Championship here in Dubai, but he could also surrender his position at the top of the order of merit. in the final event of the season.

With a brilliant lap of 65 around the Earth Course, taking him to 12 under par, normalcy seemed to prevail.

His prospects of winning the tournament remain tough to call, not least because of a high-caliber leaderboard dominated by Jon Rahm at 15 under, but a 36-hole deficit of seven strokes is a disadvantage of just three. .

By jumping from 11th to a tie for fourth, the Northern Irishman further upset Matt Fitzpatrick, who emerged as his main threat in the season-long rankings. To simplify the complicated math, Fitzpatrick, at 14 under after carding 70, will take the Harry Vardon Trophy if he wins it and McIlroy is outside the top two, and also if he is second and McIlroy is beyond the top seven.

For a time throughout Thursday and Friday, the stars were perfectly aligned for the US Open champion, but McIlroy wasn’t the kind of opponent you want to see grow up in the rear-view mirror.

‘It’s great to put myself in a position to not only win the DP World Tour rankings but also the tournament,’ said McIlroy, who is trying to become only the second player to win the Tour Championships of both the PGA Tour and the European circuit at the same time.

‘It’s really cool. After more than 15 years as a professional I still try to do things for the first time. I’ve never won the FedExCup and this in the same year, so it’s really nice.

‘I played very good golf. If I can get out there and get the job done, it’s a really good way to end a good year.’

With a tighter drive than he showed in the first two rounds, McIlroy did a better job of avoiding the dense rough of this course and added seven birdies to an early eagle. But it was a slow start, with that eagle in three bogged down by a pair of bogeys. His recovery saw him go through the next 15 in seven under, highlighted by fairway approach shots on eight and nine that rested within a foot of the pin.

Rahm, the world No 5, looked ominously strong after matching McIlroy’s 65, but the second-round leading pair of Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton had a mixed day. Fitzpatrick was too often out of position off the tee and signed two under, while Hatton reached 15 under with three early birdies before dropping shots on four of the six holes after the turn. He finished with a birdie for 72, leaving him 12 under and tied for fourth with McIlroy, with Alex Noren third and one stroke better.

Fitzpatrick, a two-time winner of this tournament but yet to top the seasonal rankings, said: ‘I need a lot of things going my way. It’s possible, with what happens tomorrow, it could be a third win here, and all three times I haven’t won The Race to Dubai.’

Spanish golfer Jon Rahm is currently leading in Dubai at 15 under after three rounds

Spanish golfer Jon Rahm is currently leading in Dubai at 15 under after three rounds

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