McIlroy one behind leader Sullivan

Dubai, November 21

Rory McIlroy carded a seven-under 65 in the third round of the DP World Tour Championships on Saturday and is one stroke adrift of surprise leader Andy Sullivan, who sunk a nerveless late birdie to edge ahead again.

The British pair will play together in Sunday’s concluding round after Sullivan’s 68 gave the 28-year-old an aggregate score of 200 to McIlroy’s 201 at the European Tour’s season finale. American Patrick Reed (68) is on 203, while Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo (71) and Korea’s Byeong-hun An (66) are both a further stroke behind.

Sullivan had begun the day on 12-under, one stroke ahead of Grillo and four clear of the world No 3 McIlroy. That meant Sullivan was last to tee off. McIlroy started two groups ahead of him and the Northern Irishman exerted some immediate pressure, making a 10-foot birdie on the first and picking up further shots at holes two and four.

Sullivan, famed for playing with a smile, looked serious on the first tee as he waited to start. Course conditions were tough and the only respite from the sweltering heat was a sporadic, swirling, blustery wind. Sullivan sunk a three-foot birdie on the second hole, but fluffed the chance to pick up another stroke at the third, missing from 10 feet. Worse was to follow on four when a simple putt lipped out for a bogey as McIlroy’s charge seemed to inhibit the usually ebullient Englishman. Yet an eight-foot birdie at five and another on seven put Sullivan ahead again.