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29th Jan 2022

Brilliant finishes for Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy at €1.2m Dubai Desert Classic

Patrick McCarry

Padraig Harrington

Harrington and McIlroy are right in the mix.

Heading into the final round at the Dubai Desert Classic, at Emirates Golf Club, and 13 players are in with a decent shout of the €1.2million first prize. Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington are right up there.

South Africa’s Justin Harding leads the field on -12 after a one-under round of 71. Closest to him is McIlroy, who went around in 69 for his third round to sit on -10.

Harrington, who was Team Europe captain to McIlroy at The Ryder Cup, also shot a 69. He sits on -7 and is on the same total as fellow veteran Lee Westwood.

Both Harrington and McIlroy pushed themselves up the leaderboard with excellent finishes, but it was not all plain sailing for the pair.

Rory McIlroy is well set for a final day push in Dubai. (Photo by Oisin Keniry/Getty Images)

18th hole joy for Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy

Starting with Rory McIlroy, his opening round was steady enough but he propelled himself into the trophy hunt with a six-under round of 66 on Friday.

McIlroy’s third round got off to a perfect start with a birdie on the first hole, for the third successive round. However, on the par-five third hole, he carded a bogey to set him back.

The Holywood native rallied well to birdie the seventh and eagle the 10th. He held his iron approach for the longest time, clearly pleased with it, then dropped a birdie putt from 10 feet away.

Fun and games on 18

He gave a shot back on the 11th and birdied 13. He was looking well set until a wobble on the 16th left him at -9. He was still well placed, but a birdie on the 18th put him out alone in second place.

As for Harrington, he also profited from some bold approach play on the 18th. His front nine had two birdies and two bogeys, but the closing nine was more in his favour.

He birdied 10 and 14 then put his drive, on 18, right in the heart of the fairway. That gave him a clear look at the green, and his approach was just on the fringe. He chipped to within nine feet and dropped his fourth shot for a birdie.

Elsewhere on the leaderboard, Tommy Fleetwood is -9, along with Eric van Royen. Among those at -8 are Ryder Cup stars Tyrell Hatton and Paul Casey.

The prize purse at the tournament is $8million, with the winner getting $1.33m (€1.2m approx.) and a stack of world ranking points.