DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Top-ranked Luke Donald is on the verge of becoming the first golfer to win the European and PGA Tour money titles, shooting 6-under-par 66 on Saturday in the third round at the Dubai World Championship to trail leader Alvaro Quiros by four strokes.
While Donald climbed the leaderboard, Rory McIlroy headed the other way to all but end his chances of overtaking the Englishman for top spot on the European money list. The U.S. Open champion had a shaky 71 to drop into a tie for eighth.
“It’s over,” McIlroy said. “Luke is in a great position and he’s played great the past couple of days. I expect him to go out and shoot another very solid round tomorrow and wrap things up.”
Rory McIlroy needs to win the tournament and Donald needs to finish outside the top nine for any chance of overtaking him for the European money title. Donald, who wrapped up the PGA Tour money title this year, is fourth.
The big-hitting Quiros shot 70 to total 14-under 202 on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. He leads Paul Lawrie (66) by two strokes while 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizien (66) is another shot back.
Several other high-profile players – including No. 4-ranked Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia and Paul Casey – also moved into contention. Kaymer tied the course record with 64 for a share of eighth place with McIlroy, Garcia (68) and Casey (70).
Despite his strong finish, Donald said he isn’t about to start celebrating just yet.
“I would be foolish to think it’s over,” Donald said of the money title race. “Tomorrow it will be just like any other day in terms of focus. I will be trying to catch whomever is the leader and trying to win the tournament.”
Donald said the key to his rise from 26th spot after the first round was his short game. It helped him win the BMW PGA Championship, among four tournament victories this year. He defeated Lee Westwood in a playoff at Wentworth to take top spot.
FRANKLIN TEMPLETON SHOOTOUT: In Naples, Fla., PGA champion Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele shot 10-under-par 62 in better-ball play to take a one-stroke lead over Mark Calcavecchia and Nick Price at Tiburon Golf Club.
Bradley and Steele are at 19-under 125.
“Our goal was to have two people in on every hole, and not make stupid, aggressive plays, and just play the way we normally play, and we did,” Bradley said.
“We had a lot of fun. We were making putts and birdies. It seems easy right now, and we’re excited to play that scramble tomorrow.”
Calcavecchia and Price, trying to become the first Champions Tour duo to win the 12-team event, had 63.
Augusta native Charles Howell and partner Justin Leonard shot 62 and are tied for seventh place at 130.
The event will finish today with the teams following a scramble format.