Rory McIlroy bogeyed his last three holes on Saturday to leave Lee Westwood with one hand on the Dubai World Championship and the Race to Dubai title.
Westwood carded a six-under par 66 to lead by two shots on 15 under from Ross McGowan (66) with McIlroy's 69 leaving him five strokes off the pace alongside Padraig Harrington (69) and Alexander Noren (67).
McIlroy will now need a red-hot closing round to close the gap and he will be hoping that history repeats itself when he is paired with Geoff Ogilvy, after closing with a 63 alongside the Australian in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
He certainly can't afford a repeat of what happened over the closing holes in round three.
On the 16th, he drove into the right rough and got a flyer. His wedge rocketed 170 yards, bounded over the green and down a bank but stopped inches from the water.
Despite taking off his right shoe and sock and rolling up a trouser leg, he could only chip to 15 feet and missed the par putt.
He then three-putted the short 17th from long range, knocking his approach putt some 10 feet past.
But the shot that will leave him tossing and turning was a wedge to the 620-yard 18th that ended up short in the creek.
"It was just a bad shot," McIlroy said, explaining that he tried to hit a draw but overdid it.
"I got myself in the position I wanted to be in. After that finish I've left myself an uphill task.
"But I've still got a shot a shot to win this - I feel a low round is in me and I feel it's necessary. The guys ahead of me are playing well."