Li takes over lead in Dubai

28 January 2018 03:30:49 GMTPlus11

Rory McIlroy is still well in contention to win the Dubai Desert Classic but Haotong Li holds a one-shot lead going into the final round.

Li, who will become the first Chinese player to reach the world's top 50 if he wins the tournament, took control with an eight-under par 64 to finish on 20 under and take a one-shot lead going into the final round.

I've given myself a second chance to win a tournament. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy, seeking his first win on the European Tour since 2016, made five birdies in seven holes to finish his second round and open up a two-shot lead at the halfway stage.

However, he started his third round slowly before improving on the back nine to make a 68 and end the round 19 under, a shot behind Li.

Others in contention are France's Alexander Levy and South African Haydn Porteous with three Englishmen Andy Sullivan, David Horsey and Tyrrell Hatton 16, 15 and 14 under respectively.

Li said afterwards: "I'm quite happy, I've never been in this position before, so it's going to be fun out there tomorrow. Hopefully I can do my best out there and have some low scores."

Meanwhile, for McIlroy, who made a return to competitive golf last week in Abu Dhabi after struggling with injury for most of last year, he hopes a better final round will be enough to snatch the title.

He said: "Hopefully that's the bad one out of the way. I didn't get off to too bad a start, just a couple of loose ones. Missed a short one on the fourth and made bogey on eighth.

"I'll probably need to play a bit better tomorrow to win, but you know, it's two weeks into the season and I've given myself a second chance to win a tournament. Looking forward to tomorrow."

McIlroy is 5.00 to win on Sunday with Li priced at 101.00. McIlroy is 2.87 to be the top British and Irish player.

The Northern Irishman is priced at 10.00 to win the Masters later this year.

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