Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy hit the ball well Saturday during the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic, but it was defending champion Stephen Gallacher who tied a European Tour record nine-hole score of 28 on the back nine to pull into a two-shot lead.
The top-ranked Woods, a two-time winner in Dubai, is in a tie for 37th after a third-round 70 and said it was a matter of "throwing away a lot of shots" by missing putts.
McIlroy, who is trying to rebound from a disappointing 2013 season, moved to 14-under-par 202 for the tournament after a 69 on Saturday, good for second place.
It was Gallacher, who is trying to become the first back-to-back winner in the 25-year history of the golf tournament, stealing the third-round show with seven birdies and an eagle on the back nine to tie the European tour record of 28. The 39-year-old Scot, who has three pro wins, is at 16-under 200 entering the final round.
“I struggled at the start and played the first four holes a bit ropey,” said Gallacher, who mentioned he turned his game around at No. 9 when he “hit a beautiful drive and 7-iron to about 3 foot, and from then on I never missed a shot.”
McIlroy, who shot a 63 in the first round and entered the third round with a one-shot lead over American Brooks Koepka, said he's concentrating on his game and not the record-tying nine holes posted by Gallacher.
“I feel like I can catch him up tomorrow," said the 24-year-old from Northern Ireland. "I don't really want to focus on what he's doing ... try to focus on my own thing.”
Thorbjoern Olesen of Denmark shot a third-round 65 to tie Koepka for third at 203.
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