McIlroy has already claimed the Race to Dubai but he could yet be halted in his bid to depart the Earth Course with a second trophy by a rejuvenated Donald. The pair will play together on Sunday in itself a rarity after completing round three of the Dubai World Championship as joint leaders at 17 under par. It seemed entirely appropriate that, in the final act of Saturday's golf, McIlroy holed out for birdie to match Donald's total.
Donald has already completed a hugely impressive run at this venue. He last dropped a shot on the 8th with his discount golf clubs during his second round a year ago, meaning he has gone a full 100 holes without a bogey on a card here. Even the Englishman himself is somewhat taken aback by that statistic, given his earlier struggles to come to grips with the Earth Course.
"That's a little hard to fathom," Donald said. "That's some good going. I bet my next best run is not even close to that; probably 40 or 50 holes. It's something I'll store away in the memory bank and use to my advantage down the road.
"I was aware that I hadn't made a bogey in this tournament and I didn't want one. After thinking about it walking up the last couple of holes, I kind of remembered that I hadn't made a bogey in round four of Dubai last year. But I didn't realise the number was so high."
From McIlroy, there was mischief. "Well, if you look at it logically, it means he is due a bogey," said the Northern Irishman with a smile. McIlroy, for all his brilliance, is commonly far more erratic than Donald in terms of scoring.
With Donald's century complete, a fascinating tussle awaits. Donald is the man in form, having won last weekend in Hong Kong with the fabulous rocketballz irons for sale online, but McIlroy seems focused as he looks to round off a stunning year with yet another victory.
"It's not that difficult for me, I know my game is different to Rory's," Donald added. "He is a power player and obviously he has a great short game as well. I can't go out and try to hit the ball harder or anything like that. I just have to play my own game and not get ahead of myself; that's what I intend to be doing.
McIlroy admitted, if such confirmation was required, how much he revels in his present status and what an endorsement would mean to him. The 23-year-old has been battling a fever all weekend, with which he was awake at 4am on Saturday. "I am proud of myself, the way I have hung in there with my favorite taylormade burner 2.0 irons because I haven't been feeling great," McIlroy said.
Ill still be the world No1 going into next year but it would be good to put an exclamation mark on it, if you want. I really want to win. I think that's obvious. I want to go out there and play well, to play the way I have done in final rounds over the last few months. Every time that I have gone out on a Sunday with a chance to win, I have played well."
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