It’s not quite mission impossible but Rory McIlroy has the daunting task of trying to stop Martin Kaymer romping to yet another victory in Abu Dhabi.
The Holywood starlet admits his storming finish to his third round might not be enough to stop the German from cruising to his third win at the desert track in the space of four years.
McIlroy finished birdie-eagle to card a sparkling third-round 65 that could easily have been a couple of shots better with a bit more luck on the greens.
But Kaymer closed with two birdies of his own for a six-under-par 66 and five-shot lead on 18-under par, leaving McIlroy to ponder the fact that he might shoot the lights out on Sunday and still not win.
McIlroy confessed: “Martin is a very good leader. He does not lose many tournaments from the position he is in. If I give myself enough opportunities, as I did today, I am sure there’s a low score out there and hopefully I will go close. But Martin is playing very, very well.”
Kaymer is bidding for his third Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship win in four years. He has only carded one bogey all week - at the third hole in his first round - and needs only a top 7 finish move ahead of Tiger Woods as world No 2.
In fact, Kaymer has had only one bogey in his last 79 holes on a course where he has broken 70 in 14 of his last 15 rounds.
Kaymer said: “My driving didn’t feel so good, but I managed to hit the greens, my putting feels good and 66 is a fantastic round.
“Now I expect myself to win and I’d like to win by as many as possible. I rarely shoot over 70 on the course and that’s my goal.”
England’s David Lynn is six shot off the pace in solo third after a 67 with Charl Schwartzel and Alexander Noren eight behind Kaymer on 10 under.
Ulster pair Graeme McDowell and Gareth Maybin are tied for sixth on nine under.
Looking forward to taking the next four weeks off, McDowell had a bad day at the office and needed a birdie at the last to card a one under 71 while Maybin had six birdies and three bogeys in a rollercoaster 69.
Damien McGrane failed to make a birdie in a two over 74 to slip back to tied last on two over, just one shot worse than world No 1 Lee Westwood, who struggled to a 73.