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Gallacher grabs Dubai lead behind sizzling 63

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“I miss [Mark O’Meara]. I miss him out here playing practice rounds … You forget, I must have played probably a decade of practice rounds at every major with him. Now he’s 58, so he’s almost 60, so we joked about that."  - 

Apparently Stephen Gallacher isn't quite ready to relinquish the trophy at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Here's how things look after three rounds at Emirates GC, where the defending champ is again atop the leaderboard after a magical back nine:

Leaderboard: Stephen Gallacher (-16), Rory McIlroy (-14), Brooks Koepka (-12), Thorbjorn Olesen (-12), Edoardo Molinari (-11), Robert Rock (-11)

What it means: Gallacher entered the day four shots off the pace, but he rocketed to the top spot with a 63 Saturday that tied McIlroy for the low round of the week. After playing with the Ulsterman in each of the first two rounds, Gallacher will now play once more alongside McIlroy on Sunday - this time in the final pairing, with the trophy on the line.

Round of the day: Improbably, Gallacher stood on the ninth tee 1 over for the day and seemingly out of contention before putting together one of the best stretches of play in years. Over the next 10 holes, the Scot carded eight birdies, an eagle on the par-5 13th and just a single par. Gallacher closed with four straight birdies to card a 9-under 28 on the back nine and grab the lead from McIlroy, who was atop the standings after each of the first two days.

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Best of the rest: Compared to Gallacher's effort, Steve Webster's 7-under 30 on the inward half seems downright mediocre. The Englishman carded an 8-under 64 to move into a tie for fifth, including eight birdies and an eagle across his final 13 holes, and as a result will tee it up in the final round just five shots off of Gallacher's blistering pace.

Biggest disappointment: Reigning Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup champ Henrik Stenson appeared poised to contend this weekend after a 5-under 67 in the second round put him just four shots behind McIlroy - and even with Gallacher. While the Scot went low, Stenson stumbled to a 3-over 75 Saturday to fall into a tie for 47th, well out of contention. The Swede began the day with two birdies in his first three holes but things fell apart from there, as Stenson played his final five holes in 4 over.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: While Olesen and Koepka remain very much within striking distance, it may turn into a shootout Sunday between the 2009 Dubai champ (McIlroy) and the man who hoisted the trophy a year ago. Gallacher knows what it takes to win at Emirates and is familiar with the spotlight after 36 holes with McIlroy and world No. 1 Tiger Woods earlier this week. The Ulsterman, meanwhile, is looking to continue the momentum created by his late-season win last year in Australia and hopes to make up for a bitter runner-up finish two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi.