The local billboards call the Dubai World Championship the
'greatest show on Earth' and Luke Donald did his best to justify that tag with
a faultless six-under-par 66 in Saturday's third round.
The world number one's performance means he now stands on the threshold of
achieving a unique golfing double by landing the order of merit titles on both
sides of the Atlantic.
Donald, who secured the U.S. PGA Tour money-list in October, is also leading
the way in Europe and needs to finish no worse than ninth with no more than one
other competitor to edge out his only rival, Rory McIlroy, in the season finale
The 34-year-old Donald was fourth on 10-under 206 at the end of the third
round, four strokes adrift of tournament leader Alvaro Quiros (70) of Spain. McIlroy could only manage a 71 for 208 at the Greg Norman-designed Earth
"The race is over," the 22-year-old Northern Irishman told reporters.
"Luke is in a great position and I expect him to go out and shoot another
very solid round tomorrow.
"He deserves it, he's had an incredible year. He has played great. He
deserves to be number one in the world and deserves to win both
Donald, however, refused to consider the money-list race was run with one round
"You can't in this game," he said. "I would be foolish to expect
it is over. Tomorrow will be just like any other day in terms of my focus. I will be
trying to catch the leader and trying to win the tournament."
Donald has already won four times in a remarkably consistent season and a fifth
victory is still a possibility after he blazed his way to six birdies in the
scorching Dubai heat.
"To win both money-lists would be a little bit of history," said the
Englishman. "If it all works out tomorrow it will be a pretty amazing
Donald said he tried to ignore how McIlroy was faring elsewhere on the course.
"The first time I saw a leaderboard was on the 13th I think," he
explained. "I tried not to really look and just kind of concentrated on my
"The couple of times I did look I didn't see his name on there so
obviously he wasn't playing his best today. But it didn't really change anything for me, other than maybe a slight
ease and peace of mind. My career has been built on consistency and today was a
good example of that."
Donald said there were occasional moments when his mind wandered away from the
task in hand.
"The money-list race comes into your mind now and again but you try and
put it away quickly and get back to focusing on the job," he added. "There were definitely a couple of times when I was on putts and my mind
wandered a little bit ... you just have to step back, shut it out and get back
Donald said the peculiar nature of this week's event, where there are
effectively two competitions at stake in one tournament, had evoked memories of
the start of his professional career.
"In a way it's felt like being at Qualifying School," he said.
"I haven't been there for 10 years but doing all the great work I've done
this year, if I'm not able to quite complete it, that would feel like I'd
"It is going to be a tough day tomorrow. I'm going to feel it but I'm in a
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