Equipped with a small lead in the Race to Dubai, Rory McIlroy made his priorities clear at the halfway point of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship: win the event, and everything else will take care of itself.
After a sizzling third round at the Jumeirah Golf Estates, McIlroy took a big step toward accomplishing both goals.
McIlroy shot the lowest round of the day, a 7-under 65 that could have been even lower. He now trails Andy Sullivan by only one shot as he looks to win this event for the second time since 2012 and successfully defend his Race to Dubai title.
"I'm very satisfied. I hit the ball fantastically from tee to green," McIlroy told reporters. "Everything was just firing today, and that's why I'm walking off the course a little bit disappointed because that 65 could have easily been a 62 or a 61. But it's still a great position heading into tomorrow."
McIlroy began the day four shots off the pace, but he made an early move with four birdies over his first seven holes. He dropped his lone shot of the day on the par-4 12th, but then responded with birdies on each of the next three holes.
McIlroy began the week 1,613 points ahead of Danny Willett in the season-long standings, and simply needs to beat the Englishman this week to win the Race to Dubai. After playing him to a draw in the first round, McIlroy has finished two shots better each of the last two rounds and now has a four-shot cushion over Willett heading into the final round of the season.
Despite missing several weeks this summer because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has a chance for his third European Tour victory of the year and his second season-long championship.
"I'd love to finish the year on a high and win the Race to Dubai and more importantly win this tournament," McIlroy said.