Rory McIlroy birdied two of his first three holes during the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic to maintain his slender advantage at Emirates Golf Club.
The Northern Irish teenager - looking for a first win on The European Tour after two play-off defeats - was one under after four holes to sit 13 under for the tournament.
Earlier the World Number 39 had completed his second round in four under 68 thanks to an eagle at the last to hold a one stroke lead over Henrik Stenson and Louis Oosthuizen.
Stenson, who lives in Dubai, and Oosthuizen - a runner up in Abu Dhabi and Qatar in recent weeks - were both one under for four holes also to lie a stroke further back on 12 under.
They had been joined by Justin Rose, the former Order of Merit winner carding two birdies through five holes after completing a second round 66 earlier in the day.
In a congested leaderboard Australian Richard Green - a former winner in this event - was 11 under, with Grégory Havret a shot further back and Ross Fisher, Martin Kaymer and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño tied for seventh on nine under.
England’s Fisher was making some serious third round headway - he was six under for his round after 12 holes after posting five birdies and an eagle at the 18th.