|-15 R McIlroy (NI); -12 D Bradbury (Eng), C Shinkwin (Eng); -11 A Arnaus (Spa), R Bland (Eng), A Hidalgo (Spa), S Norris (SA), V Perez (Fra), I Poulter (Eng), P Reed (US)|
|Selected others: -10 C Hill (Sco), M Wallace (Eng); -9 M Thorbjornsen (US)*; -8 R MacIntyre (Sco); -7 D Law (Sco)|
|* denotes amateur|
World number one Rory McIlroy carded a seven-under-par third round of 65 to take a three-shot lead in the rain-delayed Dubai Desert Classic.
The Northern Irishman made eight birdies and a bogey to get to 15 under on the Majlis course at Emirates Club.
Englishmen Callum Shinkwin (67) and Dan Bradbury (68) are second.
Joint overnight leader Richard Bland carded a 71 to sit 11 under in a group including fellow Englishman Ian Poulter (69) and American Patrick Reed (69).
The final round of the DP World Tour event will be played on Monday, a day later than scheduled, after heavy rain on the first day meant only 12 of the 132-man field completed their first round on time.
McIlroy, 33, birdied the first four holes as well as the 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th before dropping a shot with a six on the last.
“It felt like the good golf came in two bursts, and then the rest of it was OK,” said McIlroy.
“I held it together. I still don’t feel quite in control of my game. But today was much better than yesterday, so that was a positive.
“This is my first start of the year. I don’t think I’ve ever won in my first start of the year – I had plenty of chances at Abu Dhabi down the road over the years, and never quite got it done.
“So tomorrow is a nice opportunity to try to do something that I’ve never done before.”
Adria Arnaus and Angel Hidalgo of Spain, South African Shaun Norris and last week’s winner Victor Perez of France are the other players on 11 under.
New Zealand’s Ryan Fox fired a 66 to get into contention at 10 under, alongside Thomas Pieters of Belgium, England’s Matt Wallace and Calum Hill of Scotland.
Reed was cleared by the tour after claims on social media he had identified a ball as his own that was lodged in the wrong tree on the 17th hole.
A tour referee used binoculars to confirm that a ball with Reed’s specific marking was in the tree, which meant he could take a one-shot penalty drop next to the tree rather than have to take a penalty stroke and play his third from back on the tee.
Reed made bogey but, at four strokes behind McIlroy, the US Ryder Cup player remains a threat to the player he was snubbed by at the start of the week.