Rory McIlroy remains in contention to win the Dubai Desert Classic for a third time after moving to within two shots of leader Justin Harding ahead of the final round.

The four-time major winner shot up the leaderboard into a share of fifth place on Friday, four behind Harding, and halved that deficit with a three-under 69 third round on Saturday.

McIlroy, who previously won the tournament as a 19-year-old in 2009 and again in 2015, initially struggled to make up ground as he found himself just one under after nine holes.

An eagle at the par-five 10th breathed fresh life into the Northern Irishman's round, though he balanced out a couple of birdies with two bogeys in a rather mixed back nine.

But the former world number one is now 10 under for the tournament and hot on the heels of Harding, who added to his opening rounds of 65 and 68 with a one-under 71.

"I think it was a fair reflection of how I played," McIlroy said. "There were a couple of good things and a couple of bad things in there, but I feel like it all evened out by the end.

"It was nice to birdie the last, shoot something in the 60s and play myself into the last group tomorrow.

"I think as well, this late in the day, it starts to get hard to hole putts on the greens because they're a little crusty and got progressively faster as the day went on.

"I started to putt a little more defensively on the back nine. All of that leads to a pretty challenging day."

McIlroy's Ryder Cup team-mate Tommy Fleetwood is a shot further back after recovering from back-to-back bogeys at the fifth and sixth to move to nine under.

Erik van Rooyen also trails Harding by three shots, while Paul Casey, Tyrrell Hatton, Bernd Wiesberger, Richard Bland, Adrian Meronk and Fabrizio Zanotti are four off the pace.

Hatton started round three in second place, but he lacked consistency on Saturday and was made to pay for a double-bogey at the 15th when finding the water.

Shane Lowry enjoyed the lowest-scoring round of the day at the Majlis Course with 68, despite a double-bogey at the ninth, though he is way down in joint-23rd. 

Will Zalatoris goes into the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open with a first PGA Tour win in his sights after a superb performance on day three.

Zalatoris claimed a share of the 54-hole lead with Jason Day thanks to a seven-under-par 65 at Torrey Pines.

That took him to 14 under, level with 2015 US PGA Championship winner Day, who carded a 67.

Zalatoris had started the day six strokes adrift of midway leaders Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Adam Schenk.

But an eagle at the par-four second gave him early momentum and five further gains followed in a blemish-free round for last season's Rookie of the Year.

That eagle featured a 338-yard tee shot as a day Zalatoris described as perhaps the best with the driver "maybe ever" put him in position to push for a maiden tour win.

Asked how much distance he has gained following a switch to a 46-inch driver, Zalatoris replied: "Twelve yards, I've clocked it up to 127 [mph clubhead speed] and have 186 ball speed so, around here, that's huge.

"Obviously you've seen what Bryson [DeChambeau] has done, you won't be seeing me at 220 [ball speed] anytime soon but definitely the added distance has really paid dividends."

Along with Day, Zalatoris still has Rahm in his rear-view mirror, a level-par 72 keeping him at 13 under, tied for third with Aaron Rai.

Rahm carded a double bogey at the 10th and lost another shot at the 12th, but he will hope his experience of winning the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines last year can help him recover on Saturday.

Thomas, meanwhile, carded a one-over 73 and has Cameron Tringale and Sungjae Im for company on 12 under.

Rory McIlroy predicted he would enjoy the weekend at the Dubai Desert Classic after a 66 on day two moved him firmly into contention.

The former world number one vaulted up the leaderboard into a share of fifth place, following up a steady 71 with a bogey-free round containing four birdies and an eagle.

A two-time winner of this tournament, having been champion as a 19-year-old in 2009 and again in 2015, McIlroy has happy memories and there could be more cause to celebrate come Sunday.

He moved to seven under par through 36 holes, putting him just four shots behind the leader, Justin Harding of South Africa, who added a 68 to his opening 65.

England's Tyrrell Hatton sits second on nine under after matching McIlroy's score. Nobody beat 66 in the second round, with Germany's Nicolai von Dellingshausen also making the same score, in his case atoning for an opening 77 to reach a share of 38th place.

South African Erik van Rooyen and Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti share second on eight under par, with McIlroy one shot back in a group that also includes England's Richard Bland, Norway's Viktor Hovland, Adrian Meronk of Poland, and the first-round leader Joachim B Hansen, who had four bogeys and four birdies in a level-par 72. Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood and Paul Casey were all on six under.

McIlroy chipped in for eagle at 13, while leader Harding, who began on the back nine, holed from 183 yards at the par-four sixth.

There was satisfaction but also frustration for McIlroy after his round, as he said: "It could have been way lower. I certainly hit the ball good enough for it to be a few shots lower. I hit the ball as good as I've done in a long time, and it could have been a few better, but 66 is a good score and sets me up for a nice weekend."

McIlroy said he had been making technical alterations to his swing on the range, and added: "I thought I hit my irons a lot better today and was in control of the driver a bit better too."

To his frustration, McIlroy has not won a major since reaching four big ones in 2014, but he had two victories on the PGA Tour last year and was firmly in the hunt for the DP World Tour Championship in November until a closing 74 scuppered his chances.

The Northern Irishman tied for 12th last week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, enjoying a strong weekend after only just making the cut. This time he is in a better position from which to strike, and he likes his game at the moment.

"I think with how I ended last year, I certainly found something. I got a little bit of momentum, I won on the PGA Tour and had a really good chance to win here in Dubai at the end of last season," McIlroy said speaking to the DP World Tour website.

"But it feels good. There are so many ebbs and flows in this game and the career's so long that it's hard to compare one season to the next, and how you're feeling and how you're hitting it. But looking back on my last 12 or 14 years, the body of work is there.

"I've played well when I haven't felt so good and I've played poorly when I've felt really good. So it's just a matter of keep showing up each and every day and try your best and try to put the lowest score possible on the scorecard and move on."

Adam Schenk carded a 10-under-par to surge into a share of the lead alongside top-ranked Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas at the halfway mark of the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday.

Schenk, who is ranked 54th and has never won a PGA Tour title, carded a career-best PGA Tour round of 62, which included making 10 birdies and hitting four of 14 fairways.

The American, who turned 30 on Wednesday, made eight consecutive birdies was within one shot of equaling the course record, with his 15-feet putt on the 18th hole lipping out.

Reigning US Open winner Rahm, who opened the tournament with a six-under-par 66, backed up with a seven-under-round on the second day on the North Course at Torrey Pines.

World number six Thomas is locked with Schenk and Rahm at 13-under overall after his nine-under round.

The trio lead from Cameron Tringale at 12-under, with Peter Malnati next with 11-under.

Opening day leader Billy Horschel slipped down the leaderboard after a one-over round to be eight-under overall.

Will Zalatoris, who started and finished the second day with eagles, is among a group of six at seven-under including Dustin Johnson.

Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka were among the notable players to miss the cut.

Spieth's four-over card ended his run holding the longest active made-cut streak (20) on the PGA Tour.

Sergio Garcia made a positive start to his year as a five-under-par 67 put him among the front-runners at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Spaniard Garcia had just two top-10 finishes on the European Tour last season, but one of those came at this event, and he showed his liking for the tournament he won in 2017 with another sparkling round.

It was not enough for the lead, with Denmark's Joachim B Hansen ahead of the field thanks to an impressive 65 that featured birdies at four of the first five holes.

Garcia held a share of third place through 18 holes, with South African Justin Harding nudging up to second on six under through 17 holes before darkness forced him to delay completing his round until Friday.

It was as a 19-year-old in 1999 that Garcia first won on the European Tour, which has been renamed as the DP World Tour this season, with that breakthrough triumph coming at the Irish Open.

He was a champion twice on the tour that year, landed six victories in the 2000s and added eight European Tour titles in the 2010s, including a Masters victory, which counted to his win list on both sides of the Atlantic.

Now, at the age of 42, Garcia is bidding to win on the tour in a fourth successive decade, and this was a strong start, as he made five birdies and did not drop a shot.

"It was good. I think obviously it got a little bit more challenging the last couple of holes with left-to-right wind," he said. "I made a couple of nice par saves at the right times and kept it in play for the most part. I hit a good amount of greens and when I didn't, my chipping and putting was there to help me. So that was good."

In an interview on the European Tour website, Garcia added: "I still have a lot of things I want to achieve. I want to keep trying, to get better, challenge myself to improve. That's never easy and as you get older it's obviously tougher, but I'll work hard and hopefully keep fighting."

Garcia had company on five under from fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal, as well as Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, Italy's Andrea Pavan, Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti.

Open champion Collin Morikawa was in a group on four under, with defending Dubai champion Paul Casey two shots further back. Rory McIlroy was three under par through five holes of his round, having started on the back nine, but he fell away to a one-under 71 for a share of 46th place.

Billy Horschel leads the way after the opening day of the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego with world number one Jon Rahm the best of the big names in the field.

Horschel leads by one stroke from Michael Thompson after the 35-year-old American carded a bogey-free nine-under-par 63 on the North Course at Torrey Pines.

World number 23 Thompson also went bogey free on Thursday, birdieing four of his first five holes to jump out of the blocks, before birdies on the 17th and 18th holes rounded out a strong day.

Stephan Jaeger and Kevin Tway are seven-under-par, with Rahm on six-under-par alongside three others players; Rickie Fowler, Doug Ghim and Francesco Molinari.

Rahm's round on the South Course included two bogeys and six birdies but he jumped up the leaderboard with an eagle on the 18th.

Sam Burns, Daniel Berger and Tony Finau are among a group of players tied at five-under while Justin Thomas started with a four-under-par 64 but had five birdies on his front nine before two bogeys in his final five holes.

Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Xander Schauffele and 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson are also four under.

A bleach-blonde Brooks Koepka had two bogeys and four birdies to be two under, alongside three-time major winner Jordan Spieth and 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau.

Cayman Islands’ Aaron Jarvis created history on Sunday when he became the first golfer from the Caribbean to win the Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC) that concluded at the Teeth of the Dog Golf Course in the Dominican Republic.

Rory McIlroy believes playing patient golf will be the trick to succeeding once more in a major.

The former world number one is a four-time major winner, but the last of those victories came in 2014 at the PGA Championship.

McIlroy has enjoyed plenty of success since then, winning such as the Tour Championship twice, the Wells Fargo Championship twice, the DP World Tour Championship and the Players Championship.

While a fifth major success has eluded him, the 32-year-old is confident his chance will come again if he remains in the right mindset.

"I haven't won a major in the last seven years but I've basically won everything else," he told BBC Sport.

"I've won the Players Championship, I've won FedEx Cups, I've won Race to Dubai, I've won World Golf Championships, I've won national opens. You know, I've done a lot in the past seven years.

"That hasn't included a major championship but I've played good enough golf in those seven years to win one and I'm staying as patient as I possibly can and, as I say, just giving myself chances.

"I don't think there's anything I should or could do differently. I think the one thing that's held me back, especially in the majors over the last few years, is just getting off to slow starts.

"Opening up at Augusta with a 72 or a 71 and not shooting that 67 or 68 that puts you right in the thick of the tournament from the very start.

"I can't go into the first round of a tournament or on a Wednesday night under pressure to try and shoot a good score. I just have to go out there and let it happen.

"Historically when I've got myself up there early in a tournament I've been able to stay there and capitalise on that start."

McIlroy also believes the depth of quality rivals he faces has made the challenge of winning another major even greater.

"I think I haven't given myself enough chances," said the world number eight.

"I think if I'd have had more chances and realistic chances, just putting yourself in those positions, the more comfortable you are going to feel up there. 

"If you keep knocking on the door, one of those doors is going to open for you.

"I had a chance at Carnoustie in 2018, played the final group with Patrick Reed in 2018 at Augusta, tied for the lead with nine holes to go at the US Open last year at Torrey Pines.

"I've had a few chances and just haven't capitalised. I think players are getting better and better.

"When I last won back in 2014 I'd never heard of [Open champion] Collin Morikawa, I'd never heard of [world number one] Jon Rahm.

"A lot of these guys coming through are playing unbelievably good golf. I don't just have to beat five guys."

Hudson Swafford carded an eight-under 64 to charge to his third career PGA triumph winning the American Express by two shots from Tom Hoge at La Quinta on Sunday.

The 34-year-old American enjoyed a remarkable final day after bogeying the first hole, with nine birdies and an eagle on the 16th to finish victorious at 23-under.

Entering the 16th hole, Swafford was level with Francesco Molinari and Brian Harman at 20-under but a clutch second shot set up eagle, before a birdie on the 17th and making par on the 18th to close out the win.

Swafford's previous two PGA titles came in 2020 and 2017, the latter being at the same event. He had five birdies and an eagle on his back nine along with two bogeys, edging out Hoge who carded a four-under 68 on the final day to finish 21-under.

Harman, Lanto Griffin and overnight joint leader Lee Hodges were equal at 20-under, with the latter struggling with a two-under-par 70 on Sunday.

Fellow day three joint leader Paul Barjon slipped down the leaderboard with a one-over-par 73 to finish 17-under.

Reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Patrick Cantlay was unable to make a final day move, carding a four-under 68 to end up 18-under, behind Will Zalatoris, Denny McCarthy and Molinari (all 19-under).

Thomas Pieters held his nerve in the final round to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as overnight leader Scott Jamieson and other contenders fell away on Sunday.

The Belgian secured his sixth DP World Tour title with an even round of 72 to end the tournament on 10-under par, one shot ahead of Rafa Cabrera Bello and Shubhankar Sharma.

Pieters began the day tied for second but showed impressive control to card 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey, though was reliant on Cabrera Bello bogeying the 15th and 16th holes to edge ahead of the Spaniard.

Jamieson took a one-shot lead into the final day but produced seven bogeys in a five-over round of 77 to slip down to a joint-10th finish, while Shane Lowry also had a day to forget as he too hit 77 to drop 10 places to joint-12th.

The best rounds of the final day came from Adri Arnaus and Henrik Stenson who both carded seven-under rounds of 65, but both were already too far off the pace to trouble the leaders.

Tyrell Hatton managed a respectable round of 67 to climb to a final position of joint-sixth, while Rory McIlroy ended tied for 12th as his last round of 69 left him on a final score of five-under.

Pieters - who turns 30 next week - becomes the first Belgian to win a Rolex Series event, and hopes that his performance can inspire young golfers in his home country.

"I was well in control of my ball all day," he said after sealing victory. "The putting wasn't maybe there.

"I just hope all the juniors back at home are watching this. I used to watch as a kid and think it was impossible for me but then Nico [Colsaerts] came on the scene and started winning.

"It's stuff like that that inspires kids and hopefully I can do that back home."

First day joint leader Lee Hodges returned to the summit alongside Paul Barjon after carding an eight-under 64 while world number four Patrick Cantlay slipped down the leaderboard on the third day at the American Express.

Event debutant Hodges responded after his second day 72 with a fine round that included six birdies on the front nine on the stadium course at La Quinta in California on Saturday.

Hodges is 18-under overall, sharing the lead with France's Barjon who carded a seven-under 65 on the stadium course to also soar up the leaderboard.

Cantlay, who had shared the lead with Hodges after the first day and was the outright leader after the second, carded four bogeys in his even-round 72 which saw him slide to 14-under overall.

Tom Hoge remains poised one shot off the leaders at 17-under overall, with five birdies and one bogey in his round of 68.

Ireland's Seamus Power is one stroke behind Hoge, with Harry Higgs, Hudson Swafford, Lanto Griffin, Cameron Young, Harold Varner III and Francesco Molinari all next best 15 under.

World number one Jon Rahm is not far behind, having carded a five-under 67 to be 13-under overall, while veteran Phil Mickelson missed the cut.

Scott Jamieson will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after just about keeping the chasing pack at bay on Saturday.

The Scot was at one stage leapfrogged by Shane Lowry and Thomas Pieters as they produced blemish-free rounds of 67 to move to 10 under par.

Jamieson dropped a shot at the 14th but responded with birdies on the next and final holes to finish on 68, putting him at 11 under after three rounds.

Viktor Hovland is three strokes behind, as is Shubhankar Sharma, who followed a double bogey at the sixth with an eagle at the par-five seventh hole as he carded a 67 for the day.

Ian Poulter, James Morrison and Rafa Cabrera-Bello are at seven under, a stroke ahead of Andrea Pavan and Adam Scott, while there is a six-way tie on five under. Rory McIlroy, who just made the cut on Friday, produced his best round of the tournament – a 67 – to move to two under par.

After holding onto his lead under pressure from Friday's windy conditions and the pressure of his rivals in round three, Jamieson is determined to keep his focus as he targets a first European Tour title since winning the Nelson Mandela Championship in a play-off against Eduardo de la Riva and Steve Webster in December 2012.

"It would be massive, a game-changer to win a tournament of this stature," he said. "There's definitely been some great champions here and there's an awful long way to go.

"All I can do is play whatever shot is in front of me – all those cliches, stay in the moment and just try and hit the best shot I can."

Patrick Cantlay secured a one-shot lead on 14-under par ahead of Tom Hoge on the second day of the American Express in California on Friday.

The world number four followed up his impressive round of 62 on the opening day with a four-under 68 to hold the outright lead at the end of day two, with Hoge following up a first day 65 with another respectable round of 66 to sit on 13-under.

The best round of the day came from Will Zalatoris, who shot an 11-under 61 to move up 93 places to joint-third after having hit just 10 greens in his opening round 71.

The 25-year-old American managed 12 birdies, including each of his last seven holes to climb up the leaderboard, and now sits level on 12-under with fellow countrymen Lanto Griffin, Greyson Sigg, Cameron Young and Joseph Bramlett.

His drive on the final hole actually ended in the rough on the adjacent first hole, but he was still able to make birdie.

“I think today I just gave myself chances," Zalatoris said after his round. "I hit a lot close and made a couple 20, 30 footers to keep the round going and obviously... making birdie on nine from the wrong fairway is kind of the icing on the cake."

Sam Ryder, Roger Sloan, Zach Johnson and Paul Barjon ended their second rounds tied for eighth on 11-under. 

Meanwhile, Lee Hodges, who held the lead with Cantlay at the start of day two, could only muster an even-round of 72 and now finds himself tied for twelfth with 11 other competitors.

Among them is Sahith Theegala, who shot an eagle and eight birdies as part of a round of 62 to climb 98 places to inexplicably sit alongside the previous day's overnight joint-leader.

World number one Jon Rahm was unable to build on his steady first round of 66 as he hit five birdies and three bogeys during his 70 to sit tied for 32nd on eight-under.

Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa faced an overnight wait to learn whether they had made the cut at the windswept Abu Dhabi Championship, as Scott Jamieson clung to first place.

McIlroy made a vital birdie at the par-five 18th to improve his score to three over, having dropped four shots over the previous five holes.

His opening 72 had been way off the pace, and a 75 in the gusting wind could be considered a better result, nudging the four-time major winner up 15 places to a share of 60th position at Yas Links.

Reigning Open champion Morikawa added a 74 to his opening 73 to sit alongside McIlroy, both men hoping there was no surge coming from those left with holes still to play in the second round.

Play was suspended amid fading light on Friday, after the high winds made scoring treacherously difficult.

Jamieson had opened with a 63 on Thursday, but he had two bogeys and a double in his second round, which he started from the 10th tee. Birdies at 11 and eight kept the 38-year-old Scot just ahead of the field after a 74, with Viktor Hovland, Ian Poulter and James Morrison all one shot back.

Hovland also shot a 74, Poulter impressed with a 72, while Morrison, level par for the day, had four holes of his round to complete as darkness fell.

Former Open champion Shane Lowry was in a group of four on five under, while Denmark's Jeff Winther was the only player to break 70, his round of 69 featuring five birdies and taking him to four under, in a share of ninth.

In the first DP World Tour event of the year, the drastic change in playing conditions provided a stiff test for all, some former Masters winner Danny Willett was among those who struggled.

His 80, after an opening 72, meant the Yorkshireman could be definitely confirmed as missing the cut on eight over. Only four players scored worse.

The top 65 players and ties are assured of playing the final two rounds, with the second round to resume at 07:30 local time on Saturday (03:30 GMT).

Jamieson, the world number 336, said it "certainly wasn't easy" for the players who had enjoyed conditions suitable for low-scoring on the opening day.

"It's so tricky," he said, quoted on the DP World Tour website. "Obviously hitting shots is tricky with all the gusts, but the hardest thing is putting.

"You get over the ball and you feel like you've got to be so tense to stop everything moving, but that's the worst thing you can do when you're trying to putt.

"I holed a lot of really good putts from inside five feet today which kept my score respectable.

"It's a great test from tee to green, if you want to call it a test, at the mercy of whatever gust you might or might not get."

World number four Patrick Cantlay holds a share of the lead alongside Lee Hodges after both carded 10-under rounds of 62 on the opening day of the American Express in California on Thursday.

Cantlay, who was last season's PFA Tour Player of the Year, birdied five of his first seven holes along with an eagle on the par-five sixth in good conditions.

The 29-year-old American birdied the 11th, 12th and 13th holes before pars to round out a strong start.

Hodges, who played the back nine first, had a similar run on his event debut although he landed an eagle on the par-five fifth hole as part of a strong finish.

“I got off to a roll at the start and kind of made a bunch of putts and then I kind of lagged on the way coming in,” Cantlay said.

“I was happy with everything. I thought I did everything well and it’s a golf course I really like. It’s in perfect shape and so, if you get the ball rolling on line, it should go in.”

Both Cantlay and Hodges started on the La Quinta course but Nicklaus Tournament Course on Friday and the adjacent Stadium Course on the weekend.

Cameron Young and KH Lee are tied for second after carding eight-under rounds of 64, with the Korean missing out on a share of the lead due to two bogeys.

Young shot five-under on his back nine to move up the leaderboard, highlighted by an eagle on the 13th hole.

Joseph Bramlett, Sam Ryder, Brandt Snedeker, Danny Lee, Tom Hoge, Seamus Power, Wyndham Clark and Greyson Sigg were all seven under.

World number one Jon Rahm had a steady round on La Quinta with four birdies on his back nine to finish his round with a six-under-66.

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