Donald closes in on money title

Luke Donald needs to finish in the top nine on Sunday to ensure the historic double money title....

Luke Donald needs to finish in the top nine on Sunday to ensure the historic double money title. (REUTERS/Cherrilyn V. Cruz)

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

DUBAI - Barring a miracle, Luke Donald will make history on Sunday.

Alvaro Quiros had his lead cut in half to two after three rounds of the Dubai World Championship on Saturday, but Donald moved into fourth place with a six- under 66 and is well on his way to winning the Race to Dubai.

If things play out as expected, Donald will become the first player in history to win the money title on both the European and PGA Tours in the same year.

Donald, the world's top player, had a flawless round to move four shots off Quiros' mark of 14-under 202 and needs to finish in the top nine to ensure the historic title. Furthermore, Rory McIlroy would need to win the tournament to have Donald squander the opportunity, but the reigning U.S. Open champ struggled to a one-under 71 and is six shots behind Quiros at minus-eight.

"It feels a little bit different this week -- there's a lot on the line," said Donald, who sits at 10-under 206. "History sometimes can put a little pressure on you, but so far, so good."

McIlroy certainly has a strong opinion on the subject after Saturday's round.

"It's over -- definitely," said McIlroy, who is battling an illness. "And Luke deserves it. I'm tired. I'm very tired. I'm not 100 percent, but that should not stop me. I was trying to stay patient and hit good shots, but I just couldn't do it."

Quiros, who shot a two-under 70 on Saturday, is looking for his second victory of the year and his first two-win season. He has one win in five straight seasons, but a second title has eluded him.

It's the second straight week Quiros has led after 54 holes, but, after the Hong Kong Open's third round, the Spaniard warned that leading on Sunday was a "dangerous position." For Quiros, that's been true recently, squandering his last two such leads.

"I'm in a good position," Quiros said. "At the end, I'm where I want to be -- leading the tournament. All the quality players were playing behind me, so hopefully tomorrow they're in the same position."

Paired with Quiros on Sunday is Paul Lawrie (66), who moved into second at 12- under 204. Former British Open champ Louis Oosthuizen (66) is third at 11- under.

The round of the day went to German Martin Kaymer, who tied the course record with an eight-under 64 to move to minus-eight overall and in a share of eighth with five players, including McIlroy.

McIlroy began the day five shots off the lead and had to make a move on Quiros to have a chance, but that has likely gone by the wayside barring something drastic in Sunday's final round.

The Northern Irishman didn't record his first birdie of the day until the 11th, posting a front nine of three-over 39. His back nine featured only four birdies to get back into the mix somewhat, but Donald's play was superb enough to think the race is over.

The world's No. 1 player performed as a top player should, dropping nary a shot and turning the pressure aside. He's now gone 28 holes without a bogey and has gained nine shots in the standings over the last 21 holes.

Donald started the day with a pair of birdies to get to six-under, and he birdied the fifth and eighth to make the turn at minus-eight. A stretch of six pars spanned the ninth through to the 14th, but Donald had back-to-back birdies from the 15th to give himself a chance to win the tournament.

"It was very satisfying," Donald said. "The aim today was to get back in the mix for this tournament and give myself a chance to win, and I did that. The first two days, I made too many mistakes. Today with six birdies and no bogeys, that's exactly what I needed."

Quiros, meanwhile, recorded an eagle for the second straight day.

He was shaky at the outset, hitting his opening tee shot into the bushes en route to a bogey and recording another bogey on the fourth. A birdie at the sixth got him back to 12-under and even-par for the round, but things took a turn for the better at the seventh.

Quiros hit a three-iron uphill for his second at the par-five and spun it back to within a couple feet for the easy eagle opportunity. He regained a four- shot advantage at 14-under and coasted down the stretch.

He missed a three-foot par putt at the 10th, but came back with a 15-foot birdie putt at the 11th to remain at minus-14. He exchanged another birdie for a bogey the rest of the way, with a bad chip at the 18th leading to a closing bogey.

Nevertheless, his two-stroke lead looks solid heading into Sunday.

"I struggled a little bit more (than Friday), but I still hit good putts, and it's the positive things," Quiros said. "I have a chance to win tomorrow."

Francesco Molinari (68), Shane Lowry (68) and Peter Hanson (71), who was paired with Quiros on Saturday, are all five shots back in fifth at minus- nine.

NOTES: Ross Fisher had his second hole-out eagle on the par-four 16th in this tournament. Still, he's tied for 45th at plus-one...Oosthuizen also eagled the seventh hole Saturday. Lawrie, Kaymer and Nicolas Colsaerts all eagled the 18th...Quiros fell one shot shy of tying Lee Westwood's 54-hole scoring record...Last week, Quiros shot a three-over 73 in the final round of the Hong Kong Open and finished tied for seventh. McIlroy came back to win, which he'll have to replicate if he's to have a chance at the money title.


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