DUBAI // Ian Poulter kept up his bid for back-to-back victories by taking a two-stroke lead after the Dubai World Championship third round on today.
Last week's Hong Kong Open winner carded a three-under 69 for a 12-under total of 204, two ahead of fellow Englishman and playing partner Ross Fisher (71), the Italian Francesco Molinari (68) and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee (69).
One stroke further adrift were world No 1 Lee Westwood (71) and the Swede Robert Karlsson (67).
Martin Kaymer found the water with his approach shot and double-bogeyed the par-five 18th but was still poised to finish the year as Europe's No 1.
The German, who has a lead of €290,000 (Dh1.4 million) over second-placed Graeme McDowell in the money-list, finished with a 73 for 210.
McDowell, who will probably need to win this week's tournament to overhaul Kaymer in the Race to Dubai, was four strokes adrift of the German after shooting a 69 in the season finale.
Up for grabs for Kaymer and McDowell, the only two players who can top the money-list, is a $1.26m cheque for winning the tournament plus a $1.5m bonus for finishing the season as Europe's No 1.
"Barring the impossible I think Europe's No 1 is probably not a reality for me any more," said McDowell.
"I can certainly draw a line under it tomorrow in the last round and just put a nice end to what's been a fantastic year," added the US Open, the Wales Open and the Andalucia Masters winner.