Jamie Donaldson leads way in Dubai at 10-under 62

Jamie Donaldson leads way in Dubai at 10-under 62

Li, who began his third round three shots behind McIlroy, made a confident start with four birdies in his first eight holes.

In the 108 holes McIlroy has now played since his return to the game following a four month sabbatical, he is a phenomenal 33 under par, having had just four bogeys.

World number 58 Ian Poulter, who eagled the last on Friday to ensure he survived the cut, is one further back after eight birdies in a 65.

Alexander Levy and Haydn Porteous were at 17 under, a shot clear of Andy Sullivan and two ahead of David Horsey.

"Probably got a bit of a break between now and going back out there so I'll probably get a little bit of physio treatment, make sure everything's okay and hit some balls and practise". Eighteen-under-par didn't get the job done in Abu Dhabi last weekend, when he finished joint-third behind Tommy Fleetwood.

"I didn't expect to play as well as I did last week and it's been nice to continue that into this week", McIlroy said.

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Fog had ended the second day early but McIlroy was on fire when he returned to finish the final seven holes early this morning.

Li, the highest ranked Chinese male player in the world at No. 60, produced a brilliant display of iron play and putting to be in great position to add to his only previous European Tour win, the 2016 China Open.

Welshman Donaldson nearly lost his European Tour card last season, before a fourth-placed finish at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters spared him that misfortune.

"I feel like if I play my game I'll be able to shoot something a bit lower tomorrow, and I think I'll need to shoot something lower to be able to win".

"This is one of my favourite tournaments of the year, a place I've always done well at, some good memories". I just wanted to go out there and play a good seven holes and hopefully get myself into contention for the last couple of rounds.

One of the biggest challenges for McIlroy on the final day could be keeping patient. "Looking forward to tomorrow". "Maybe that experience of winning a couple of times around here, being in contention quite a lot, will help me tomorrow".

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