Matt Wallace will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the DP World Tour Championship after birdieing every hole on the back nine on a remarkable day at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
The Englishman started the day seven shots off the lead but after turning in 33 on the Earth course, he picked up a shot on every hole from the tenth onwards to sign for a stunning career-best 60.
He was two feet from holing a bunker shot for an eagle and a 59 on the last but had to settle for the lowest round of the season, a 16 under total and a one-shot lead as he looks for a first Rolex Series title.
Wallace’s nine birdies in a row, 12 birdies in a round, nine-hole score of 27 and nine-hole score to par of nine under all match DP World Tour bests but will not go in the record books due to preferred lies being in place.
The 32-year-old – who won a maiden PGA TOUR title in March – only made it into the season-ending event courtesy of his finish at last week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, but now has a chance to claim a fifth DP World Tour title and first since the 2018 Made In Denmark.
Ryder Cup stars Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland were the closest challengers after continuing to match each other with rounds of 69-66-66.
Dane Jeff Winther was then at 14 under after a 64, a shot clear of Scot Ewen Ferguson who carded the same score and another Dane in overnight leader Nicolai Højgaard, who signed for 70.
Matt Wallace: What a day, an amazing day. Just tried my hardest to get myself back into the tournament. I’m really happy that I’ve been able to do that. Played great.
At the end, I didn’t even think there was a 59. Honestly, I think it helped me a little bit. I just played nicely coming down the stretch, just keep getting one more if I could and I managed to do that.
Missed a short one on seven which stopped momentum, I thought, and made one on eight that picked it back up. Holed a good one on ten. 11, played nicely. Then I didn’t really miss a shot coming in.
The shot of the day for me is probably 17. It was in between numbers and could have hit eight. Went for a soft seven to hold it into the pin there, and hit it to eight feet and rolled it in.
Kind of gutted now actually a little bit (to miss out on 59). Great opportunity to do it. I’ve done it at Moor Park on the West Course which is only a par 68, but to do it out there would have been really special today.
In the Czech Republic, I was playing to keep my card. Played mostly on the PGA TOUR this year, so once I came second there, it kind of boosted me and then I wanted to make DP World and now I’m here and we have a chance to win tomorrow. That’s the full focus there.
Tommy Fleetwood: I played good early on. I looked at the pins this morning and it actually looked like the pins on the front nine looked a bit more accessible than they had been or they had felt for me over the first two days. But even so, still got to hit shots.
It’s one of those putts (on 14), you half-fancy because you just have to hit it down the hill. Viktor nearly holed his from a similar spot for birdie. It’s just one of those that can go either way. It looked good for a very long time, and it was nice, really.
It would be great (to win here). I’m very happy with the fact that you get to the final day of the year and I’m still playing well, still feel fresh and I’m still motivated and in contention. I take a lot of pleasure out of that. I think it’s easy to shut off when you get so far down the season, but kind of pride myself on going all the way.
We’ll see tomorrow. It was great today. Out there playing with one of the best golfers in the world and trying to go toe-to-toe with Viktor. Just look forward to more of it tomorrow. It’s been great so far.
Viktor Hovland: It was pretty solid. Felt like I almost played a little bit better than yesterday. Gave myself a lot of looks. Didn’t necessarily feel like I made a lot of putts. It was very close to the edges but it was very solid so hopefully tomorrow they drop in.
It played easier today, not a lot of wind. Greens were soft. But the greens are very grainy. It’s hard to make putts on some of the pin locations, like 17, for example, that’s a tough one to get close to. I mean, 60 out here (for Wallace), that’s ridiculous.
It would be really cool (to win here). It’s been a crazy year. You know kind of feels like it has been the off-season. I have had six weeks off. This is another big one and would be really nice to have on the resumé and I feel l like I’m playing some good golf.