Dubai - World number one Rory McIlroy and second-ranked Luke Donald gave the organisers and fans what they wanted when the pair set up a classic duel in the desert after the DP World Tour Championship third round on Saturday.
The two Britons shot matching six-under-par 66s to sprint three strokes clear of their nearest rivals on 17-under 199 and will engage in a head-to-head showdown for the $1.33-million first prize on Sunday.
Donald did not drop a stroke to par for the third day running while McIlroy was boosted by an inspired birdie-birdie-par-eagle burst from the 11th in the final event of the season on the European Tour.
South African compatriots and close friends Louis Oosthuizen (68) and Charl Schwartzel (67) were in a tie for third place on 202.
The round of the day belonged to Jeev Milkha Singh who dedicated a sparkling 64 to his ailing 76-year-old mother back home in India after equalling the course record.
Singh, who became the first Indian to play in the US Masters five years ago, said his mother Nirmal was in intensive care in Chandigarh after having a bad fall in the garden.
"She has fractured her knee and the fibula bone and needs major surgery," the 10-times European Tour winner told reporters after charging through the field to finish on 209.
"She needs some plates put in and that surgery is going to take place on Sunday morning. We are hoping and praying that everything goes fine and she comes out well - I dedicate this round to my mum for sure."
Leading third-round scores in the
$8million DP World Tour Championship on Saturday at the par-72 Earth
Course of Jumeirah Golf Estates:
199 - Rory McIlroy (NIR) 66-67-66, Luke Donald (ENG) 65-68-66
202 - Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 68-67-67, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 67-67-68,
204 - Branden Grace (RSA) 69-65-70, Joost Luiten (NED) 69-68-67,
- Romain Wattel (FRA) 70-68-67, George Coetzee (RSA) 71-67-67,
Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 68-69-68, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 68-68-69, Jamie
Donaldson (WAL) 68-68-69, Justin Rose (ENG) 68-68-69, Marc Warren (SCO)
206 - Padraig Harrington (IRL) 67-71-68, Gonzalo
Fernandez-Castano (ESP) 66-72-68, Peter Hanson (SWE) 69-67-70, Danny
Willett (ENG) 71-65-70,
207 - Peter Lawrie (IRL) 68-72-67, Rafael Jacquelin (FRA) 69-67-71, Thomas Aiken (RSA) 70-66-71,
- Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 68-72-68, Anders Hansen (DEN) 69-70-69,
Fredrik Andersson-Hed (SWE) 67-69-72, Richie Ramsay (SCO) 67-68-73
- Jeev Milkha Singh (IND) 71-74-64, Ian Poulter (ENG) 72-70-67, Soren
Kjeldsen (DEN) 72-69-68, Chris Wood (ENG) 71-69-70, Scott Jamieson (SCO)
68-69-72, Martin Kaymer (GER) 67-70-72,
210 - Bernd Wiesberger
(AUT) 72-70-68, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP) 70-70-70, Stephen Gallacher
(SCO) 68-70-72, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 73-64-73, Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL)
211 - Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) 71-71-69, Robert Rock
(ENG) 72-70-69, Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 71-69-71, Simon Dyson (ENG)
69-69-73, Marcus Fraser (AUS) 69-67-75,
212 - Jbe Kruger (RSA) 72-70-70, Michael Hoey (NIR) 70-71-71, Lee Westwood (ENG) 67-74-71,
213 - Paul Lawrie (SCO) 71-72-70, Alejandro Canizares (ESP) 74-68-71, Marcelo Siem (GER) 73-65-75
- Francesco Molinari (ITA) 72-71-71, Alexander Noren (SWE) 70-73-71,
Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 70-72-72, Matteo Manassero (ITA) 73-68-73.