Lee Westwood remained in pole position as the Omega Dubai Desert Classic moved towards a dramatic conclusion, but the Englishman still had plenty of work to do to secure a 22nd European Tour win.
One clear at the summit of a congested leaderboard overnight, Westwood rolled in a lengthy eagle putt from off the front of the green at the second this morning to open up a two stroke lead.
However, a sloppy bogey at the fifth stalled his progress and he was briefly joined on 16 under by Germany’s Marcel Siem, who birdied the second and eighth before dropping back into a share of second with a bogey at nine.
Alongside Siem was Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello, another to momentarily share the lead after a birdie at the second, while George Coetzee, Scott Jamieson and Stephen Gallacher shared fourth on 14 under.
However, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy - two of the favourites heading into the final day - had both lost ground on a breezy day at the Emirates course.
Kaymer carved out presentable birdie chances on the opening three holes, only to fail with the putter on each occasion. A two at the short fourth boosted the German’s spirits, but he then bogeyed the fifth and tenth to drop back to 12 under.
McIlroy, who resumed on 13 under, three-putted the first from distance and displayed frustration after missing an opportunity to get the shot back with a six-footer at the par five third.
The Ulsterman also failed to convert excellent approaches to the sixth and seventh and his hopes of winning this event for a second time appeared to have disappeared when he found the water with his second shot at nine and made double bogey.