Jon Rahm has goosebumps over the thought of emulating the great Seve Ballesteros and becoming Race to Dubai champion.

A six-under-par 66 on Saturday left Rahm in a tie for first alongside Mike Lorenzo-Vera at the DP World Tour Championship after three rounds and in pole position to win the season-long battle for the European Tour's best player.

Ballesteros is the only other Spaniard to have achieved the honour, doing so six times between 1976 and 1991 when it was known as the Order of Merit.

It is an honour that has eluded such Spanish talents as Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez, and Rahm is determined to grasp his opportunity.

"It gives me goosebumps to think about that," he said in quotes reported by the European Tour.

"I've said it many times, as a Spaniard, any time you join or you have the chance to put your name on a list where there's only one name and that name is Seve, it's pretty impactful. 

"It's really emotional for all of us. To think not even Sergio or Miguel Angel or Olly or many other great players couldn't get it done. 

"It's hard to believe that I have the chance to be the second. I'm just going to try to enjoy the afternoon. There's still 18 more holes to play."

Rory McIlroy looms as an ominous presence just two shots off the pace, with Tommy Fleetwood – Rahm's rival in the Race to Dubai – four shots off the lead.

McIlroy, a three-time Race to Dubai victor, recovered from a disappointing 74 on Friday to shoot himself back into contention for the World Tour Championship trophy with a 65.

"You've got Tommy and Jon up there obviously and Mike's holding steady at the top. He played wonderfully yesterday. I played with him and seems like he's doing a similar thing today," McIlroy said. 

"I'm going to have to go out there and shoot a similar score tomorrow to do what I did today to really have a chance. But I'm just really pleased that I got myself back in the golf tournament."

Jon Rahm holds a share of the lead at the DP World Tour Championship and is on course to win the Race to Dubai title after a magnificent third round.

Rahm started moving day in joint-second place with Tommy Fleetwood - also battling to be crowned European number one - and will begin his final round level with Mike Lorenzo-Vera on 15 under.

The Spaniard matched his six-under opening round of 66 to catch Lorenzo-Vera at Jumeirah Golf Estates, where the leading duo hold a two-shot advantage over Rory McIlroy.

Fleetwood just about had the edge in the tussle for the Race to Dubai title at the halfway mark in the final tournament of the season, but it is advantage Rahm after the Englishman signed for a two-under 70.

World number five Rahm, four shots ahead of Fleetwood, will win the Race to Dubai if he repeats his 2017 triumph at the Earth Course and Bernd Wiesberger finishes lower than solo second.

Wiesberger began the week as the man to catch, but is down in a share of 24th place with his chances looking slim.

Second place will also be good enough for Rahm to overhaul Wiesberger if the Austrian finishes worse than solo 21st and none of Fleetwood, Shane Lowry or Matt Fitzpatrick win the title on Sunday.

Rahm birdied the first two holes and hit the turn in 34 after his only bogey of the day at the eighth, then picked up another four shots on the back nine to draw level with Lorenzo-Vera.

Lorenzo-Vera said he was wary of "big dogs" biting him after ending his second round with a three-shot lead and a solitary bogey at the 18th meant he had to settle for a second successive 69.

Fleetwood could only muster three birdies to leave himself with work to do, while McIlroy enhanced his chances of winning the tournament for a third time by shooting a brilliant seven-under 65 - including an eagle-three at the seventh.

Fitzpatrick is nine shots off the lead, with Lowry a further stroke back.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera is wary of being bitten by the "big dogs" chasing him as the battle for the Race to Dubai title hots up at the DP World Tour Championship.

Lorenzo-Vera holds a three-shot lead on 12 under at the halfway mark at Jumeirah Golf Estates after carding a three-under second round of 69 on Friday.

The Frenchman, who signed for a stunning 63 on day one in Dubai, led by seven strokes on the back nine but bogeyed the last after also dropping a shot at 15.

Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm are in a share of second place in what promises to be a dramatic tussle to be crowned European number one on Sunday, with the Englishman in pole position for that honour as it stands.

Bernd Wiesberger, Race to Dubai leader heading into the season-ending tournament, has work to do at three under, while Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick are also in contention.

Rory McIlroy is six shots adrift of leader Lorenzo-Vera, who is braced for a tense weekend as he eyes a maiden European Tour triumph.

The world number 96 said: "Tactically I know what I have to do, and I know that the winds are going to be different this weekend.

"I'm not going to push more than what I'm doing now. I'm trying to trust my putter 100 per cent and that's what I can do.

"I've got a three-shot lead and it's better than three shots behind. It's just going to be stressful because it's big dogs behind me that are going to try to bite me, so it's going to be interesting."

Fleetwood, winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge last weekend, knows he must not suffer a lapse in concentration with so much at stake.

"It's just a classic case of trying to stay in the moment and take each shot as it comes," he said. "There's a lot going on over the weekend; there's a lot of different scenarios and players in the mix.

"There's a lot of things going on around you so the more internally focused you can be and the more you can just stay in your bubble, it will just be a great challenge going into the weekend trying to do that."

Mike Lorenzo-Vera holds a three-shot lead in the DP World Tour Championship, while Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm boosted their chances of winning the Race to Dubai title on Friday.

Lorenzo-Vera started the day with a one-shot lead ahead of Rory McIlroy after signing for an opening 63 - the lowest first round in the history of the tournament.

The Frenchman led by a mammoth seven shots on the back nine at Jumeirah Golf Estates, but his advantage over Fleetwood and Rahm was reduced to three when he bogeyed the last hole.

Lorenzo-Vera, bidding to win a first European Tour title in what is the last event of the season, is 12 under after signing for a three-under 69 on the Earth Course.

The world number 96 started with back-to-back birdies and hit the turn in 33 after further gains at the seventh and eighth holes, but a second dropped shot of his round at 15 and another at 18 mean he is not sitting quite so pretty.

Fleetwood carded a four-under 68 and is course to be crowned European number one for a second time, a seventh birdie of the day at the final hole also enhancing his prospects of winning back-to-back titles.

The Englishman, who claimed the Nedbank Golf Challenge title last weekend, was seven adrift of Lorenzo-Vera when the leader chipped for a birdie at 14, but is well poised in a share of second place with Rahm.

Rahm sunk a putt from around 12 feet for an eagle-three at 18, recovering well on the back nine after a double-bogey at the eighth.

The Spaniard and Fleetwood both know they can be crowned Race to Dubai champion if they finish solo second, provided Bernd Wiesberger fails to shoot up the leaderboard.

Austrian Wiesberger started the season finale as the man to catch and will be guaranteed to fend off the rivals chasing him down if he finishes outright second, but is joint-13th following a 71.

Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick, the other two contenders to win the Race to Dubai, are in a share of 13th and 17th respectively.

McIlroy is six shots off the lead after a disappointing 74, while Tom Lewis sits five behind Lorenzo-Vera on seven under.

Rory McIlroy described his stunning approach to the 18th as "possibly the best shot I've hit all year" as he closed with an eagle to surge into contention on day one of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

The four-time major winner, seeking a third title at Jumeirah Golf Estates, carded a 64 on Thursday to sit one stroke behind leader Mike Lorenzo-Vera at the season-ending European Tour event.

McIlroy pulled clear in second spot, two ahead of Race to Dubai contender Jon Rahm, with a three at the par-five last set up by a booming drive and pinpoint approach shot that landed within three feet of the pin.

"It's possibly the best shot I've hit all year," the world number two told Sky Sports. "It was one of those where if you get it right and you button it, it's going to be perfect.

"The two shots into the last were right up there with the two best shots I've hit this year, I would say.

"I'm feeling comfortable with my game. I have done for the last while. I felt like [this] was just more of the same of how I've been feeling.

"I hit some really quality shots coming in which gives me a lot of confidence going into the next few days."

McIlroy recently added an eye-catching finishing touch to his home, with the addition of a trophy cabinet that he would dearly love to contribute to this weekend.

His wife Erika had the cabinet put in place when McIlroy was busy securing further silverware at last month's WGC-HSBC Champions.

"It's sort of the last room that we've been waiting on to get finished in the house," the Northern Irishman explained. "I like to have [the trophies] out so, in a reflective moment, I can go and have a look at all I've achieved on the golf course the last few years.

"I had not seen them - they were in storage for a year and a half - so just to come back to it was really nice.

"It's a nice reflective moment, but it's also a motivational moment that this is what I can do and I want more of it."

Rory McIlroy shot 64 but could not keep an unwell Mike Lorenzo-Vera off top spot as the Frenchman carded the lowest opening round in the history of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

World number two McIlroy, a two-time champion at Jumeirah Golf Estates, closed Thursday's play one stroke behind Lorenzo-Vera.

The pair turned in well-matched scorecards, each showing an eagle and a solitary dropped shot, but the four-time major winner sunk one birdie fewer than his rival. 

With former rugby player Niall O'Connor acting as his caddie, McIlroy went out in 31 but saved the best until last.

On the 18th hole, he nailed a stunning approach to within three feet and holed the subsequent eagle putt to conclude an excellent round.

Still it was shy of Lorenzo-Vera's effort, the world number 96 overcoming illness to earn himself a slice of history with an unmatched opening 18 holes to sit nine under.

"Honestly, I'm not feeling well at all," said Lorenzo-Vera, who has never won on the European Tour. "I have no energy. I had a big lung infection in South Africa and a big treatment and really feel bad on top of that.

"I felt that if I really relaxed a lot, just swing it like 70 per cent or maybe less, the ball was still flying pretty well. Try to be pretty clever and not too aggressive and then the putter got hot. So that worked."

Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger went round in 70 and is still projected to take the top prize based on day-one standings.

His closest rival for that honour at the start of the week, Tommy Fleetwood, dropped a couple of shots on the back nine to sign for a five-under-par 67.

Of the three other names in with a chance, Jon Rahm fared best as he got to six under, but Matt Fitzpatrick's 71 and The Open champion Shane Lowry's 73 are likely to have ended their hopes.

The Hong Kong Open has been postponed due to safety concerns amid the "ongoing level of social unrest", the European Tour has announced.

The tournament – co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour – was set to take place from November 28 to December 1 at the Hong Kong Golf Club, but organisers now hope to schedule it for early next year.

Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, said: "The decision has been taken due to the ongoing level of social unrest in Hong Kong.

"As the safety of our players, staff, stakeholders and everyone involved in each and every one of our tournaments around the world is our top priority, we feel this is the correct, but unfortunate, course of action.

"The European Tour thanks everyone at the Hong Kong Golf Association, the Hong Kong Golf Club and all persons associated with the Hong Kong Open for their hard work in endeavouring to stage the tournament and we look forward to hopefully returning early next year."

The event offers a prize fund of $2 million at the event, with 2750 Race to Dubai points awarded to the winner.

Former champions in Hong Kong include Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.

Rory McIlroy is expecting a "fun week" after recruiting a familiar face to step in as his caddie for the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

After winning in Shanghai in his previous outing at the start of the month, McIlroy is back in action at the European Tour's season-ending event as he bids to finish a successful 2019 on a high.

The world number two has already won four tournaments this year and knows this week's course extremely well, having triumphed there previously in 2012 and 2015.

However, he will have to do so without the services of regular caddie Harry Diamond, who is absent following the birth of his first child. Instead, McIlroy has turned to long-time friend and former rugby player Niall O'Connor - who represented Ireland A during his career - to help him out.

"It's going to be a fun week to get out there with Niall on the bag and hopefully I can play well the first few days and we'll get into the heat of battle hopefully on the weekend and that will be something that will be fun for both of us," McIlroy said.

"I'll maybe take on a little bit more responsibility than I usually do and jot stuff down. It feels a little bit like when Harry first came on the bag a couple years ago.

"I took on a little more responsibility writing stuff in my yardage book and pacing stuff out. I actually quite enjoy that part, too.

"You know what, it will be fun. Obviously Niall and I go back a long way, so for me at this point it's just about trying to stay as relaxed and as loose as possible out there and he can definitely do that for me."

While McIlroy is chasing another title, he is not in the running to finish the year at the top of the European rankings.

Instead, five players are still battling to be crowned the Race to Dubai champion. Bernd Wiesberger leads the way but has some big-name contenders within striking distance, including Open champion Shane Lowry.

"I'm going to go out and give my best this week and no matter what happens, I will be sitting back next week with a major trophy in my cabinet this year, and I'll be happy with what I have," Lowry told the European Tour.

"But it would be incredible to add European number one to that list as well."

Lowry sits fourth in the standings, sandwiched in between Jon Rahm and Matthew Fitzpatrick. However, Tommy Fleetwood - victorious at the Nedbank Challenge last week - is the closest challenger to Austrian Wiesberger.

Rory McIlroy joked he may have beaten Tiger Woods for the first and last time after a statistic shared on social media indicated the world number two had set a new record.

A Twitter post reported McIlroy, who turned 30 in May, had become the youngest player to spend 500 weeks inside the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

According to the post, this betters the great Woods, the present number seven, who was four months older than McIlroy when he achieved the same feat.

Taking to his official Instagram account, McIlroy posted a screenshot of the statistic to his story and wrote: "The first (and maybe last) thing I've ever beaten Tiger at."

McIlroy, a four-time major winner, first moved into the top 10 in 2009, going on to become world number one three years later. 

Tiger Woods will go down as golf's greatest and most resilient player, according to four-time major champion Rory McIlroy.

In his first tournament since undergoing knee surgery, Woods matched Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour wins when he triumphed at the Zozo Championship in Japan last month.

Woods' victory followed on from his remarkable success at the Masters earlier in 2019, which capped a phenomenal comeback following the former world number one's fall from grace and persistent back problems.

McIlroy tasted success of his own over the weekend, edging out Xander Schauffele in a play-off to win the WGC-HSBC Champions, with the dramatic triumph making him the first European to win three World Golf Championship titles.

Asked to comment on Woods' comeback, McIlroy said: "It's incredible, to see first-hand what he did at the Tour Championship last year, what he did that final day to then him progressing to win the Masters and then winning in Japan.

"He does things that people just can't understand and people will never understand the state his body was in or where he was mentally.

"To fight his way back, he's going to go down as the greatest that ever played I think, but also the most resilient.

"We can talk about Ben Hogan and the car crash, but what Tiger has also been through, the injuries and everything else he's been through in his life, to come back and play at this high level is incredible.

"If you compare Tiger to everyone else who has played in their mid-40s then you'd say he'd start to slow down.

"He has slowed down, he got to 71 [PGA Tour] wins by the age of 33 [and] it's taken him 10 years to get to 82. There's obviously a lot that's gone on in-between with injuries and taking breaks.

"He's not going to win at the rate that he used to win but I can still see him pick off one or two wins per year, I think that's pretty realistic."

FedExCup champion McIlroy has won four tournaments in 2019, but the Northern Irishman is hopeful he can soon go head-to-head with Woods for a title.  

"It's what I dreamed of growing up," the world number two added. "I had putts to win The Open or win the Masters and to beat Tiger Woods.

"Now it's a real possibility that could happen which is really cool."

 

McIlroy was talking at the WGC-HSBC Champions, where HSBC invited five CGA Junior golfers from across China to participate in the annual launch event. Since 2006, HSBC have helped to put golf clubs in well over 100,000 children through their junior golf tournaments, training camps and school initiatives.

Rory McIlroy came out on top in a play-off with Xander Schauffle to win the WGC-HSBC Champions and complete a historic hat-trick in Shanghai.

Four-time major champion McIlroy birdied the first extra hole to dethrone defending champion Schauffle at Sheshan International Golf Club on Sunday.

McIlroy's dramatic triumph made him the first European to win three World Golf Championship titles and took his tally of tournament victories this year to four.

The Northern Irishman started the day with a one-shot advantage and that is how he finished it after carding a bogey-free four-under 68, before a magnificent approach shot got him on the green in two on a second trip down 18.

FedEx Cup champion McIlroy missed a putt for an eagle, but his fifth birdie of the day was enough to win the tournament for the first time.

Schauffle, winner of a play-off at this event last year, birdied 18 to card a closing six-under 66 and join McIlroy on 19 under, but his tee shot in the play-off found thick rough at the side of a bunker and he me missed a birdie putt from 12 feet after having to lay up.

The American, suffering with the flu all week, reeled off three birdies in a row after a bogey at six to hit the turn in 32, trailing McIlroy by just a shot.

McIlroy was two strokes in front with four to play but gains at 15 and the last kept Schauffle in the hunt to defend his title before falling just short.

Louis Oosthuizen finished in third spot on 17 under after a three-under final round of 69, having been joint-leader with McIlroy when he drained a birdie putt at the eighth.

Dropped shots at nine and 11 cost the South African, while Matthas Schwab and Victor Perez finished with magnificent rounds of 66 to share third place along with Abraham Ancer.

Rory McIlroy hit a third consecutive round of 67 to lead Louis Oosthuizen by a shot after round three of the WGC–HSBC Champions.

The Northern Irishman continued his consistent form in China with a bogeyless round on Saturday as he birdied hole 18 to lead outright at 15-under.

It was just about the last action of the day as he moved one shot clear of Oosthuizen, who was the big mover on day three.

The South African got off to a hot start with five consecutive birdies during the first half of his round before consolidating on the back nine to record a seven-under 65 – the lowest score of the day.

Defending champion Xander Schauffele looms as a threat on day four in a tie for third alongside round two leader Matthew Fitzpatrick at 13-under.

Englishman Paul Waring also found form with a six-under par 66, while Jason Kokrak (66) and Im Sung-jae (70) sit four shots off the pace.

Li Haotong remains the best of the local hopefuls on six-under overall, but a disappointing round of 74 meant he and Adam Scott (75) meant they lost ground on the leaders having started the day two shots off the pace.

Rory McIlroy will enter the weekend at the WGC-HSBC Champions one shot behind leader Matt Fitzpatrick after both men carded five-under 67s in Shanghai.

World number two McIlroy started the day three strokes adrift of overnight leader Li Haotong, but he briefly had a two-shot lead on Friday after a run of four birdies in a row between the third and sixth.

Dropped shots at nine and 16, coupled with Fitzpatrick's blemish-free round, saw the Englishman – who made birdies at the final two holes – hit the front.

However, McIlroy ensured he will go into the weekend brimming with confidence after an eagle at the par-five 18th, where his remarkable approach shot left him with a two-foot putt.

McIlroy has not won on the European Tour since 2016 but has finished second seven times in that run.

"Delighted with the first two rounds," he said in quotes published on the European Tour's website.

"To put myself right in contention going into the weekend is something that I wanted to do.

"It's something that I haven't done a lot of over the last few weeks.

"I've sort of had bad starts and then clawed my way back into a good position at the end but to be right in the tournament after two days, I'm excited."

Fitzpatrick, who is 11 under par for the tournament after coming home in 32 on Friday, is bidding to record his first victory in 2019 after winning at least one European Tour tournament each year since 2015.

He is two strokes clear of Adam Scott, Im Sung-jae and defending champion Xander Schauffele, with Li and Victor Perez a shot further back after both men were unable to crack 70.

Li Haotong hit the front in the WGC-HSBC Champions as he carded an excellent 64 in the first round in Shanghai on Thursday.

Backed by home support, Li made seven birdies and an eagle as he claimed a one-shot lead over World Golf Championship debutant Victor Perez.

Having entered the event ranked 23 for the Race to Dubai, Li could be in contention to become Europe's number one heading into the final three events of the season.

"Today is a pretty good start and good beginning," said Li, who conceded he did not expect to have found his form so early in the event.

"So I don't want to think too much about it. I just want to focus and concentrate on the upcoming three days because anything can happen. I just wanted to do a good job to keep this momentum going for the next three days.

"I don't feel quite well with my status and my momentum because in the previous tournament, I wasn't really playing that well. But I never expected today, that I had such a great round today in day one."

Perez, who won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in September, finished on seven under par for the day, having recorded two eagles on his way to an impressive 65.

The Frenchman finished one shot ahead of four players - Matthew Fitzpatrick, Xander Schauffele, Im Sung-jae and Adam Scott - tied for third on six under, with Rory McIlroy among three players to finish on 67.

McIlroy started poorly, hitting two bogeys from his opening five holes, though he had looked to claw himself back with a birdie on the 16th.

A third bogey on the 18th set him back, but the world number two found his composure in the second half of his round - reeling off four successive birdies before the Northern Irishman picked up another shot on the eighth to put himself right in the mix.

Louis Oosthuizen claimed the highlight of day one, though. After reaching the turn with a bogey-free 35, the former Open champion hit a hole-in-one on the 197-yard sixth and finished the round inside the top 10.

Tiger Woods secured a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour crown after the 15-time major champion won the Zozo Championship in Japan on Monday.

American superstar Woods sealed an historic three-stroke win to draw level with Sam Snead for the most victories on Tour.

Woods carded a three-under-par 67 to finish 19 under overall, ahead of Hideki Matsuyama (67) at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club.

The 43-year-old underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee to repair minor cartilage damage in August, having secured a remarkable Masters success in April – his first major title in almost 11 years.

Woods made a spectacular return from career-threatening back injuries in 2018 by claiming the season-ending Tour Championship and the former world number one continued his rise back to the top of golf.

He returned to complete his final seven holes on Monday after darkness suspended the deciding round at the rain-delayed inaugural Zozo Championship in Chiba on Sunday.

Woods, who posted rounds of 64, 64, and 66 heading into the final 18 holes, carried a three-stroke lead at the start of the day and he maintained that advantage ahead of Matsuyama.

After playing his first 11 holes in two under, Woods returned to shoot a bogey and a birdie at the 12th and 14th, with another birdie at the last capping the Presidents Cup captain's position atop the leaderboard.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy (67) earned a share of third place alongside Im Sung-jae (65) at 13 under, two shots ahead of Billy Horschel (70), Corey Conners (70).

Justin Thomas signed off for his third successive round in the 60s – a 65 – to be tied for 16th with the likes of Patrick Reed (68) and Paul Casey (67), with Australian star Jason Day (68) a shot behind.

Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth's final-round 71 saw him finish five over and tied for 66th.

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