Gallacher’s back-nine 28 moves him ahead of McIlroy at Dubai Desert Classic

Third Round – European Tour – Omega Dubai Desert Classic – Emirates Golf Club – Dubai, United Arab Emirates –

Stephen Gallacher recorded a European Tour gem Saturday in round three of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

The defending champion logged a back-nine 28 to surge into the lead at 16-under overall. He managed seven birdies and an eagle after being just even-par on his opening nine. The 40-year-old is looking for third career European Tour title.

His victory in the 2013 Dubai Desert Classic snapped a nine-year win-less streak for the Scotland-native.

Rory McIlroy, the overnight leader, is two back at 14-under overall, while Brookes Koepka and Thorbjorn Olesen are T-3 at 12-under.

The stacked field, which includes Tiger Woods and Henrik Stenson, makes a victory here worth plenty of world ranking points. Gallacher, who is 67th in the world, would see a big spike if he can hold on for the triumph.

Woods is T-37 at 5-under, while Stenson followed up his 67 Friday with a 75 on Saturday. He is T-47.

Look for this to be a career moment for Gallacher if he can hold off McIlroy. The moment may be too much for the Scot, who was as 40-to-1 pick at Ladbrokes to defend this title.

Olesen still has a shot here. He was T-3 in 2013 and contended last week at the CommercialBank Qatar Masters before finishing T-3.

Other Golf News:

  • Former Masters champion Bubba Watson and Matt Jones are tied for the 36-hold lead at the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.
  • Hall of Famer Colin Montgomerie and Paul Casey are T-19 in Dubai after 54 holes.
  • Several high-profile players missed the weekend cut on the European Tour including Ernie Els, Branden Grace, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Uihlein.
  • The PGA Tour moves to Pebble Beach next week for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. National Football League quarterbacks Aaron Rogers and Tom Brady are scheduled to play.