Lee Westwood produced a potentially lucrative third round six under par 66 to put clear daylight between him and Race to Dubai rival Rory McIlroy on another captivating day at the Dubai World Championship presented by: DP World.
Westwood progressed to 15 under for the tournament to enjoy a five shot lead over McIlroy after the Northern Irishman ran up three unfortunate late bogeys at the 16th, 17th and 18th.
With a first prize of €830,675 from the tournament and almost €1 million more for topping The Race to Dubai standings, Westwood will also head into tomorrow’s final round with a two shot break over second placed Ross McGowan.
McIlroy, who stood on the 16th tee on six under for the round, found the edge of the water with his approach and could only chip out for a five before three putting the 195 yard 17th.
A further bogey followed on the 620 yard 18th as his approach shot found the water, leading him to sign for a costly 69 and end in a share of third on ten under par alongside Padraig Harrington and Alexander Noren.
Westwood meanwhile delivered a bogey free round that included, for the second consecutive day, a fine birdie at the tough par five finishing hole.
“This is as good as I feel like I've swung it almost all year and when I was winning a lot - in the last century! - I had this kind of attitude,” he said.
“I would not be outwardly cocky, but I am just being more confident. I've had 30 wins and I think I've finished tournaments off more than anybody else on the leaderboard.
“I don't mind putting myself up there to be shot at. You back your ability.”
Despite the disappointment of suffering the late blemishes McIlroy insists he is still in with a shout heading into the final round.
“I got myself in the position I wanted to be in but after that finish I've left myself an uphill task,” said the Northern Ireland golfer, trying to become the youngest number one since Seve Ballesteros in 1976.
“On 16 I got a flyer (he failed to get up and down from next to the water after taking a shoe and sock off and rolling up a trouser leg), on 17 I left myself a tricky two putt and the last was just a bad third shot.
“But I've still got a shot to win this - I feel a low round is in me and I feel it's necessary. The guys ahead of me are playing well.”
McGowan, who won his first title on The European Tour at the Madrid Masters last month after a third round 60, was in spectacular form again as he went to the turn in 31 before eventually signing for a six under par 66.
“I'm just out here to win, to play my game, and whatever anybody else does on their own I’m not really worried about,” he said.
“I enjoyed it today. Lee and I got into a good rhythm early on and kept it going all day.
“I have to go out and shoot as low as I can tomorrow. There's only one thing on my mind and we'll see how it goes.”
Further down the leaderboard in a tie for sixth sat Sergio Garcia and Geoff Ogilvy on nine under par, while the only other two candidates for The Race to Dubai title, Martin Kaymer and Ross Fisher, were all but out of the running down in a tie for 36th on two under par.