Completed: The Celtic Manor ResortSep 18-21

ISPS Handa Wales Open

Scheduled: Old Course St. AndrewsOct 2-5

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Dubai Desert Classic: Stephen Gallacher overhauled Rory McIlroy with third-round 63

Last Updated: 02/02/14 2:14pm

  • Share:
Stephen Gallacher: Scot played his final 10 holes on Saturday in 10 under

Stephen Gallacher: Scot played his final 10 holes on Saturday in 10 under

Sky Bet

Defending champion Stephen Gallacher played the back nine in 28 to accelerate into the third-round lead at the Dubai Desert Classic.

The Scot's nine-under 63 took him to 16-under-par overall and a two-shot advantage over world No 6 Rory McIlroy, who managed a 69.

Third round leaderboard

(GB and Ire unless stated)
-16 S Gallacher
-14 R McIlroy
-12 T Olesen (Den)
-12 B Koepka (US)
-11 S Webster
-11 E Molinari (Ita)
-11 R Rock

Click here for collated scores

Gallacher played his last 10 holes in 10 under, although there was little sign of what was to come when - four behind overnight leader McIlroy - he opened with seven pars and then bogeyed the eighth.

That left him seven back, but the turning point came at the par-four ninth where Gallacher picked up a shot thanks to a superb approach.

He then proceeded to reel off three more birdies to start his inward half, eagled at the par-five 13th, parred the next and finished off with another four-birdie run.

'Amazing'

Gallacher told Sky Sports: "It was a bit of a struggle to start with, especially the first three holes when I failed to find the fairway.

"Then I hit it stiff at nine and, from then on, kept hitting it close - and if I hit it to 30 feet I holed it.

"It was just one of those days where I didn't feel quite right early on. I missed from about six feet at seven, hit a poor putt at eight and thought: 'oh no, here we go...'

"(But) If you stay patient, focused and keep your head then it's amazing what this game throws up."

Gallacher's victory last year was the second win of a professional career that started in 1995 and he is aiming to draw on that experience on Sunday to become the first man to successfully defend the title in the 25th edition of the event.

"What I found last year was it's easier leading than chasing (on this course)," he said.

"There is a lot of golf left to go but I'll certainly be giving it my best shot."

Rallied

McIlroy, whose maiden career title came five years ago at this tournament, made an adventurous bogey-birdie-eagle start to his third round.

The Northern Irishman had another bogey at the sixth but responded with a solid remainder to the day, mixing 10 pars with birdies at the 10th and 17th.

He sits at 14-under-par, two better off than his playing partner Brooks Koepka (70) and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen (65).

Englishman Steve Webster made a big move with nine birdies and an eagle in his 64. Webster is joined at 11 under by countryman Robert Rock and Italian Edoardo Molinari, who both signed for 68s.

World No 1 Tiger Woods shot 70 to occupy a share of 37th place on five under.

  • Share:

Related

Dubai Desert Classic 2014

Stephen Gallacher: With Dubai Desert Classic trophy

Gallacher picks up Tour award

Stephen Gallacher has been named European Tour Golfer of the Month for January.

Rory McIlroy: Too many mistakes

McIlroy: One of those days

Rory McIlroy reflected on "one of those days" after his challenge for a second Dubai Desert Classic title petered out.

Stephen Gallacher: recovered from a nightmare start

Bright future for Gallacher

Stephen Gallacher is eyeing a Masters and Ryder Cup debut after his one-shot victory in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Most Popular

Features

Kammy's golf lesson

Kammy's golf lesson

Rory McIlroy gave Kammy some tips to improve his golf swing on this week's Goals On Sunday.

McIlroy's mission

McIlroy's mission

A European Ryder Cup victory would be the icing on the cake for a fantastic year, says Rory McIlroy.

Tour de Ryder Cup: Day 6

Tour de Ryder Cup: Day 6

Four West Yorkshire golfers give the latest update on their charity Ryder Cup bike ride.