Rory McIlroy bravely fought back from three straight bogeys at the start of his round to gain a share of the lead heading into today's final round of the Dubai Desert Classic.
McIlroy headed into day three of the event leading by one but found himself quickly trailing, and then even further down the board when he bogeyed the seventh in the windy conditions. But the world No 7 recovered his composure over his closing 11 holes to shoot 75 and be tied at eight-under par with Dane Anders Hansen (71) and South African Thomas Aiken (74).
"It's now going to be a test of patience and trying to play smart golf and make pars, and make the odd birdie when you can get it," said McIlroy. "So I wish I had played a little better today and given myself a bit more of an advantage."
Double Dubai winner Tiger Woods also struggled in dropping three shots over the last two holes of his outward nine but then, in true Woods style, he eagled the 10th and birdied the 11th.
Woods then pumped his fist in great delight in holing a curling 30-foot birdie at the last in a score of 72 to be among seven players at seven-under. Among them are former Irish Open winners Sergio Garcia (75) and Australia's Brett Rumford (72).
"It was a great reward the fact that I was able to battle back, being four-over par, and now give myself a chance going into the last day," said Woods. "I'm proud of that but we have a bunched leaderboard, and there's a bunch of guys with a chance of winning."
Michael Hoey (73) at six-under par, and world No 1 Lee Westwood (72) at five-under par, are among 20 players within three shots of the leading trio.
Sunday Indo Sport