Rolex Series

Hero Dubai Desert Classic - Day three digest

Everything you need to know from Moving Day at the first Rolex Series event of the season.

Emirates Golf Club

Cameron Young stayed in front, Rory McIlroy made a major move, Li Haotong was hoping history would repeat itself and Adrian Meronk hit the shot that shall not be named on day three of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

Here is everything you need to know from round three at Emirates Golf Club.

Young fights back to lead

Young will take a two-shot lead into the the final round after carding a gutsy 71. The American entered the weekend with a three-shot advantage but found himself one back as he turned in 37, with three-time champion McIlroy setting the target at 12 under after a stunning 63. The World Number 25 found another gear on the back nine, however, carding three birdies to get to 14 under. He could have been further ahead, such was the quality of his iron play after the turn, but he will now go out with McIlroy in round four, with Pole Adrian Meronk alongside the Northern Irishman after a 70. "It would be a nice feeling (to win)," said Young. "It's one of those times that you feel like kind of at peace with what you've done and it's something I would love to do tomorrow. I've put myself in another great place to have a chance and I'm happy with that."

McIlroy aiming for history

McIlroy took a huge step closer to an "amazing" fourth title with his stunning surge through the field. The Northern Irishman arrived in Dubai level with Ernie Els for most wins at this event but entered the weekend ten shots back after starting his week 71-70. Seven birdies and a remarkable eagle putt from off the green on the par-five last moved him to 12 under and the World Number Two was excited to have the chance to win a third Rolex Series title, sixth event in Dubai and fourth Dallah Trophy. "It would be amazing," he said. "First player to get my name on it four times, it would be awesome. I've had so much success in Dubai, whether it be at this tournament or over at Jumeirah Golf Estates and Race to Dubais. It's been a really, really good place to me. I love coming back here. I really enjoy my time here. It would be amazing if I was able to get another win."

Li getting 2018 vibes

When Li held off McIlroy to win this title in 2018, he had the world at his feet. To say his career has been a roller coaster since then would be an understatement. In 2021 he did not make a cut until October but he roared back in 2022 with a victory at the BMW International Open. Last season ended with 13 missed cuts and two withdrawals but now - playing the weekend for the first time in an event with a cut since April - he is just five shots off the lead heading into round four. "I felt like this six years ago, super comfortable, super confident and looking forward to play Sunday," he said. He would certainly be a popular winner.

Meronk hits a s*k

Meronk had birdied the second and third and was going well in round three before he hit a dreaded hozzle rocket with his second at the fifth - a shot that went so far right it disappeared off the shot tracker. He did brilliantly to play his third from a tree root and just drop a single shot but the Pole revealed he was in a state of shock. "It's my first shank in my career in a tournament," he said. "I was completely shocked when it happened. The ball was lying quite high on the grass. I thought it was a good lie but I must have done something wrong. It just went 90 degrees to the right, and yeah, I was pretty shocked. But at the end it was a good bogey."

Stands? What stands?

Rasmus Højgaard barely saw the 18th until he hit the green. But he hit the green in style.

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