World number one Rory McIlroy was unable to find the fast start he was looking for in the early stages of round three of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai today.
McIlroy began the day just two shots off the lead at Jumeirah Golf Estates, but all too aware that halfway leader and defending champion Henrik Stenson would be a tough man to catch.
Stenson was 25-under-par in winning by six shots 12 months ago - a victory which ensured he became the first man to win the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup in the same year - and was top of the leaderboard again thanks to rounds of 68 and 66.
McIlroy was therefore keen to make early inroads, but missed from 18 feet for birdie on the first and just six feet on the par-five second to remain two shots adrift.
The four-time Major winner was far from Stenson's only rival however, with England's Tyrrell Hatton making birdies at the first four holes to briefly catch Stenson before a dropped shot on the fifth.
Six other players were alongside McIlroy on eight-under, including Scotland's Marc Warren thanks to six birdies in his first 15 holes.