Bryson DeChambeau claimed sole possession of the lead after round three of the Dubai Desert Classic, while Li Haotong strengthened his bid for a second successive title at Emirates Golf Club.
Haotong’s five-under 67, which featured seven birdies, represented the best score of the leading contenders on Saturday and lifted the defending champion into second place at 15 under.
DeChambeau followed up two successive 66s with a 68 to be one shot better off, the American improving significantly on a level-par front nine with four birdies on his way home.
Ernie Els’ hopes of claiming a fourth title in Dubai, 25 years after his first success, faded as a two-under 70 left the veteran South African three off the pace alongside Matt Wallace (69).
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 26, 2019
Els birdied the third and 18th but parred every other hole.
Another former champion, 2011 winner Alvaro Quiros, was firmly in contention with one to play after mixing six birdies with three dropped shots. However, the Spaniard then ran up a triple-bogey seven at the last to fall back into a tie for fifth at 12 under.
Lucas Herbert, who shared the 36-hole lead with DeChambeau, was also four off the pace after a topsy-turvy 72 featuring six birdies, four bogeys and a double. The Australian’s card included every number from a two to a seven.