Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy trail record-tying Stephen Gallacher in Dubai

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy hit the ball well Saturday during the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic, but it was defending champion Stephen Gallacher who tied a European Tour record nine-hole score of 28 on the back nine to pull into a two-shot lead.

The top-ranked Woods, a two-time winner in Dubai, is in a tie for 37th after a third-round 70 and said it was a matter of "throwing away a lot of shots" by missing putts.

McIlroy, who is trying to rebound from a disappointing 2013 season, moved to 14-under-par 202 for the tournament after a 69 on Saturday, good for second place.

It was Gallacher, who is trying to become the first back-to-back winner in the 25-year history of the golf tournament, stealing the third-round show with seven birdies and an eagle on the back nine to tie the European tour record of 28. The 39-year-old Scot, who has three pro wins, is at 16-under 200 entering the final round.

“I struggled at the start and played the first four holes a bit ropey,” said Gallacher, who mentioned he turned his game around at No. 9 when he “hit a beautiful drive and 7-iron to about 3 foot, and from then on I never missed a shot.”

McIlroy, who shot a 63 in the first round and entered the third round with a one-shot lead over American Brooks Koepka, said he's concentrating on his game and not the record-tying nine holes posted by Gallacher.

“I feel like I can catch him up tomorrow," said the 24-year-old from Northern Ireland. "I don't really want to focus on what he's doing ... try to focus on my own thing.”

Thorbjoern Olesen of Denmark shot a third-round 65 to tie Koepka for third at 203.


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