Rising South African Haydn Porteous put together a fine third round 66 to sit just four shots of the lead after the third round off the $2.5-million Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.
That came after opening rounds of 72 and 66 to leave him on 204, with former Nedbank Golf Challenge Danny Willett leading the way on 200.
Willett underlined his growing stature in European golf when a second consecutive round of seven-under par 65 at the Emirates Golf Club on Saturday gave him sole possession of the lead going into the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic.
The Englishman broke though a tight leaderboard with a superb eagle on the par-5 13th hole and ended the day one shot ahead of Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello on 16-under par 200.
England’s Andy Sullivan was third one behind the Spaniard at 202 after a round of 66.
World number two Rory McIlroy was languishing eight shots behind the leader. The Northern Irishman was two-over par after a terrible front nine, but then made six birdies on the back nine to finish on 68.
Henrik Stenson, the second best ranked player in the field at number six, was one shot better than McIlroy at nine-under par after a 70.
Three time Dubai Desert Classic champion Ernie Els, who started the day one shot behind overnight leader Cabrera-Bello, struggled all day and for the first time in the history of the tournament, he posted an over-par third-round score of 74.
In January Porteous had won his maiden European Tour title at the Joburg Open and now he has his sights set on his biggest payday yet.