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Rory McIlroy saved the best until last to surge into contention for his first win since September 2016 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The 20ft putt put the icing on a six-under-par 66 that left him at nine under and just three shots behind Ryder Cup partner and leader Thomas Pieters - and one behind Fleetwood, who shot 68.

McIlroy has gone 36 holes without a bogey in Abu Dhabi, and finished his round Friday with a stellar eagle three at the 562-yard par-5 18th. We hit driver wherever we can and the rest of it, it's good ball-striking and going at a couple flags with wedges when you have them that you need to do that.

Rory McIlroy marched the fairways of Abu Dhabi Golf Club Saturday with that fighter pilot stride of his, with that confident little bob in his step that you see when he is in command of his full arsenal of shots.

Pieters was satisfied with his play from tee to green, but said: "I missed a lot of putts today".

"It's something I've been working on, trying to not be so one-dimensional", McIlroy said.

"I felt like this golf course suits me pretty well and I like the setup of it".

"I mean, I hit most of the middle of the greens".

After firing five birdies and no bogeys in his first 17 holes, Pieters produced a good par save at the last to remain at the summit and Fisher joined the Belgian on 17 under after closing his 7-under-par 65 with a birdie at the 18th.

Gallacher came out early to the UAE to prepare for both this event and next week's Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the tournament he won back-to-back in 2013 and 2014. I worked a little bit on my wedges at Close House for the British Masters and that helped that week.

"The pin was tucked on the right and he hit his 3-wood, just faded into the pin", said the 26-year-old Englishman.

"I felt like I gave myself tons of chances on the back nine and it was hard to convert them".

"I feel like I played similar again", he added. I hit it really well, it was just really solid all day long.

"I've just got to go out there and let it freeflow and be quite aggressive, keep my foot down and hole a few because momentum-wise it makes the world of difference".

England's Ross Fisher produced a seven-under-par round to move into the joint lead at the Abu Dhabi Championship.


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