Rose is aiming to win a third title in as many starts
Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood accelerated into the final lap of the race to end the season as Europe's number one by shooting 65s in the third round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Rose, who is aiming to win a third title in as many starts after success in WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, preserved his slight edge over his rival with a bogey-free seven-under round that put him atop the leaderboard on 201.
Fleetwood, the Race to Dubai leader, matched Rose's effort in brilliant fashion. One over after seven holes and seemingly going nowhere, the 27-year-old made his first birdie at the eighth. Eight birdies in his last 11 holes moved him into a tie for fourth, two shots behind Rose.
Spaniard Jon Rahm (65) and South African Dylan Frittelli (63) were tied for second at 14-under 202 one ahead of Fleetwood, South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67).
Fleetwood needs to win
Fleetwood leads the Race to Dubai by 256,737 points, but, unless he wins the tournament, Rose will win his second European number 1 title by finishing first or solo second. If Fleetwood slumps in the final round, a top-five finish could be enough for Rose.
Sergio Garcia is the only other player who can win the Order of Merit, but he needs a win and is five behind Rose at 10-under par after the third round.
With accessible pin positions and hardly any wind, the course was there for the taking, which is exactly what most players did. Six players, including Rose and Fleetwood, hit 65s, while Frittelli shot 63 and David Lipsky 64.
Bogey-free Rose was solid from tee to green. He chipped in from the fringe for a birdie on the 13th, and made several long putts, including one from 45 feet for birdie on the 16th.
"The short game has been sharp this week. It's probably been the highlight of my week," Rose said. "I'm certainly not thinking about being the leader because I think it is such a condensed pack and someone tomorrow is going to have to play great golf to win."
Looking ahead to the final round, Rose said: "It's going to be a day where you're out there not paying too much attention to the leaderboard early in the round. You just have to put your blinkers on and play good golf."
Fleetwood was delighted to turn around what was proving to be a frustrating day.
"When you know the scoring is quite low, it's not nice to have nothing going at all," he said. "Then it just kick-started. I hit a great shot in and started holing a few putts. I just played really well. It just shows, that's what can kind of happen on the golf course."
"Tomorrow, it's nothing closest to the biggest day of my life, but in my career, it is. I just want to enjoy these moments. This is what you practice for and this is what you play for. It's brilliant, it makes me smile.
"It's been an absolute pleasure trying to win a Race to Dubai."