Rolex Series

McIlroy relishing shot at hat-trick in the desert

Rory McIlroy is excited to have the chance to claim a third title at the Dubai Desert Classic as he heads into the final round just two shots off the lead at Emirates Golf Club.

Rory McIlroy

The four-time Major Champion won his first DP World Tour title at this event and also claimed victory in 2015 before going close to completing his hat-trick in 2018 only to lose out to Li Haotong.

He now has the chance to make it another career first in the desert as he goes in search of a maiden Rolex Series title and he is relishing the challenge of trying to reel in Justin Harding at the top of the leaderboard.

“I’m excited,” he said. “Had a really good chance in 2018 and let it slip through my fingers there when Haotong won. Good to give myself another opportunity.

“It would be nice to get another win, especially here in Dubai. But it’s obviously nice to get a win anywhere early in the season. So I’ve just got to go out there tomorrow and try to play a good round of golf and hopefully it’s good enough.

"There's a great atmosphere out there today. Hopefully another great atmosphere tomorrow. 

"I've played in a lot of final groups here, so it's nothing new to me at this point and I'm excited for it."

McIlroy registered two birdies and a bogey on the front nine on day three but really came to life after the turn, hitting three stunning second shots into the par fives to set up two birdies and an eagle.

He also dropped two shots on the way home in his 69 but was overall happy with his day's work.

“Some good things in there and a couple of bad things as well and I feel like it all evened out by the end and it was nice to birdie the last and shoot something in the 60s and play myself into the final group tomorrow," he said.

"I did well. Could have been maybe a bit better but could have been a bit worse as well. I didn't try to take on too much. Overall I thought I did well.

"It's a proper test. You've got to hit it in the fairway to get control of your golf ball and get some spin on it and then if you miss the greens, it's really difficult to get the ball up and down. 

"Tested all aspects of your game: off the tee, iron play, chipping, putting and probably most importantly, your sort of mental side of it."

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