Jon Rahm rises to the top ahead of final round in Dubai

Jon Rahm continued his love affair with Jumeirah Golf Estates' Earth Course as he posted a spotless 65 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the 2022 DP World Tour Championship.


The Spaniard began the day four shots off the lead but fired seven birdies and kept his card clean to move to 15 under par and take over at the top of the leaderboard.

Rahm, looking to become the first player to win five Rolex Series titles, is something of a course specialist, having recorded two victories and a joint-fourth placed finish in three previous visits.

He has a stellar chasing pack breathing down his neck, though, with England's Matt Fitzpatrick in second on 14 under and Swede Alex Noren another shot back in third - one ahead of World Number One Rory McIlroy and Tyrrell Hatton.

An exciting end to the season is in store on Sunday, with the outcome of the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex very much still in the balance with 18 holes remaining.

McIlroy, who led coming into the week, tops the standings but Fitzpatrick is not far behind him.

Halfway co-leader Hatton had looked like running away with things early on day three, having fired three birdies in his first seven holes to lead by three shots.

But the situation at the top of the leaderboard changed completely on the back nine as Hatton's four bogeys in six holes from the tenth opened the door for the challengers.

And Rahm took full advantage, following up four birdies on the front side - including three in a row from the fifth - with three more gains on the back nine to lead the way.

Rahm's iron play and putting were particularly impressive on Saturday, and he is hoping to not only repeat that, but be better off the tee in the final round.

He said: "I don't think I could have shot any lower today. Maximised the round.

"Wasn't my best off the tee but I was able to actually get some birdies out of some not-so-good situations. 

"I didn't hit any of the fairways on the par fives and still played them three under par.

"I'm hoping come tomorrow I can be a little better off the tee, and still keep the good iron play and good putting going.

"I'm really looking forward to it. It's a demanding golf course. I think the weather forecast is similar to today, which can be a good thing, a tough day.

"I've had some good Sundays out here, so hopefully I can tidy up the mistakes off the tee and have a smooth round like I did yesterday."

Rahm admitted he does not know why he has such a good record on the Earth Course but he is not in a hurry to find out.

He said: "I don't know. And I hope I never find out so I just keep coming here with a good vibe; the second you know, it's gone.

"I just like the golf course. I think visually it fits my eye.

"Obviously length is always helpful but more so on this golf course. There's a couple of bunkers that I can cover, that a lot of us can cover.

"Like today I played with (Jorge) Campillo, not a short hitter but he just couldn't quite cover, right, so that changes things a lot. The 15th being a perfect example. Hit a great drive and 30-yard pitch shot to the pin today and he had to lay up.

"Long par threes, long par fives, yeah, I think it's just visually, I like it off the tee. And luckily, the tee game is the strength of my game. I've put myself in position enough off the tee here that I can make a lot of birdies."

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