Dubai: While Rory McIlroy continues to chase down Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Jon Rahm at the European Tour season-ending DP World Tour Championship and is thriving in the Dubai winter at Jumeirah Golf Estates, the world No. 2 insists there will be no change in his plans to focus on the PGA Tour next season.
The Northern Irishman shot a 65 to remain in the hunt for the title in Dubai but he has spent most of the season on the PGA Tour, where he picked up four titles including the prized Tour Championship trophy. And he is not going to fix something that isn’t broken.
Despite being on the cusp of a third DP World Tour Championship title to go with his hat-trick of Race To Dubai crowns, McIlroy is happy to ply his trade across the continents in the PGA Tour and pick and choose his European Tour events to keep him in the mix for the Padraig Harrington’s Ryder Cup team.
“I think what I have done this year worked really, really well,” he said after his round left him two-strokes off the lead in third place. “So I will try not to mess with that too much. I will play when I have to play, and with it being a Ryder Cup year, I will do what I have to do to get a spot on the team.
“But yeah, It was a very good formula. I will just play the biggest tournaments in the world against the best platers and wherever that takes me, that’s what I am going to do.”
McIlroy was delighted with his 65 on Day III on the Earth Course, but he is sure there is room for improvement.
“Tommy (Fleetwood), Rambo (Rahm) and Mike are all hitting the ball well,” he said. “I am well aware of what Jon and Tommy can do on the final day and Mike has done brilliantly to keep himself up there in contention. If I want to win this thing again I am going to have to do the same as today, if not even better.”
Meanwhile, lightning struck twice in the cruelest of ways for Lorenzo Vera, with a repeat bogey on the 18th badly compromising his chances of a first-ever Tour win.
Luckless in 167 events since turning pro in 2005, the Frenchman has been calling the shots on his more illustrious rivals since day one, only to stumble on course designer Greg Norman’s final hole of the perilous ‘Golden Mile’, a daunting four-hole sequence encompassing some of the trickiest in Europe.
Lorenzo Vera goes into the final round on Sunday jointly tied on 15-under with 2017 DP World winner Rahm, who reeled off seven birdies against a single bogey in his six-under third round.
“I think we messed up a bit with the choice of club of tee on 18th,” he admitted. “That was not a driver. It was a bit too aggressive, but, well, that’s the game and I tried my best.
“We know at least tomorrow in this wind it won’t be the driver on 18.”
Lorenzo Vera has come close to ending his losing streak on four occasions in the past and said that he has learnt that ‘you don’t control anything except your mind.’
“That’s the only thing you can control tomorrow, so I just hope for the same game plan and let’s see if the golf wants to give me something.”
Rahm delivered the round of the day playing solid golf for the most part.
“It was really good,” said the 25-year-old Austrian. “ Got off to a great start on the front nine then kind of stalled a little bit but got things going right away on the back nine.
“Playing pretty solid. Really confident off the tee. Really confident with every part of my game right now. I’m hitting a lot of great shots and giving myself chances.”