Nov 23, 2019: Jon Rahm carded a stunning 66 to join Mike Lorenzo-Vera at the top of the leaderboard at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and put himself in pole position to be crowned Europe’s Number One.
The Spaniard won the second of his three Rolex Series titles at this event in 2017 and should he make it four on Sunday, he will almost certainly become just the second Spaniard after the great Seve Ballesteros to win the Harry Vardon Trophy.
His 66 in round three moved him to 15 under at Jumeirah Golf Estates alongside Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera, who carded a 69 as he looks to become the first ever wire to wire winner of the season finale.
World Number Two Rory McIlroy was at 13 under, two shots clear of Tommy Fleetwood, who himself remains in contention for a second Race to Dubai title with 18 holes of the season remaining.
Bernd Wiesberger entered the week at the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex but a 73 left him 13 shots off the lead and needing to finish solo second to claim season long glory should Rahm win.
In just over three years as a professional, Rahm has claimed five European Tour titles and while he feels it would be an incredible honour to win the Race to Dubai, he is refusing to get ahead of himself.
Lorenzo-Vera started the day with a three shot lead but Rahm almost holed his second at the first and made a six foot putt to get to ten under and take provisional top spot in the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex.
He took advantage of the par five second but he was not the only big name making a big move.
McIlroy holed a 12 footer from the fringe at the first and then got up and down from the sand for a birdie on the second to get within four.
The Northern Irishman hit what he described as his best shot of the year to set up an eagle on the last on day one and he repeated the trick at the seventh on Saturday, putting his second to five feet to move to ten under.
He was not there for long, however, as he holed a 20 foot left to righter on the eighth to sit just one shot off the lead and put Wiesberger back at the top of the Rankings.
Lorenzo-Vera started with five pars but he put a stunning tee shot to four feet for a birdie on the sixth, only for Rahm to hit back from eight feet on the par five seventh.
The leader also made the most of the par five after an excellent pitch and Rahm missed the green at the eighth for a first bogey of the day that extended the advantage to three shots.
That dropped shot also briefly put Wiesberger back in the lead for the Race to Dubai but the Austrian made three bogeys in a row from the 11th to put Rahm back on top.
Lorenzo-Vera then birdied from the fringe at the ninth to lead by four but Rahm put an approach to four feet at the tenth and chipped in at the 13th to trail by just two.
The leader holed a very slippery 15 footer at the 14th for a birdie but Rahm hit back again, holing from ten feet at the 16th and making a two putt birdie at the last to trim the advantage to one, before Lorenzo-Vera bogeyed the 18th after finding water off the tee.
Lorenzo-Vera has four times been a runner up on the European Tour but should he claim a maiden victory here, he will also take home a world record winner’s prize of US$3million.
McIlroy made the most of the 14th and put an approach to six feet at the 16th on the back nine for a bogey free 65.
Englishman Fleetwood played a sublime bunker shot on the last for a birdie to go with gains on the par five second and 14th and a bogey on the ninth.
Belgian Thomas Pieters was at ten under, a shot clear of Swede Marcus Kinhult and two ahead of defending champion Danny Willett and South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout.