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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Dubai Desert Classic Round 4 live updates: Li Haotong birdies last to win title by one shot from Rory McIlroy

The final round of action at Emirates Golf Club as China's Li comes from two shots down to triumph by one shot from Rory McIlroy

Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner Haotong Li, left, is congratulated by runner-up Rory McIlroy on his victory. Andrew Redington / Getty Images
Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner Haotong Li, left, is congratulated by runner-up Rory McIlroy on his victory. Andrew Redington / Getty Images

5pm The first person to congratulate Li Haotong on becoming the first Asian winner of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic was runner-up Rory McIlroy.

The Northern Irishman misses out on winning the event for a third time and he will rue not capitalising when he led his Chinese rival by two shots with eight holes to go.

Second comes after finishing in a tie for third in Abu Dhabi last week so it has been a positive two weeks in the UAE for the four-time major winner.

Third was England's Tyrrell Hatton on -20 after a final round 66, and fourth and fifth respectively on -19 and -17 are Alexander Levy and Chris Paisley.

That is it for our live coverage. Full reports to come online at www.thenational.ae/sport

4.50pm He has done it! Li Haotong completes a gutsy final round with a birdie at the 18th to become the 2018 Omega Dubai Desert Classic champion.

His third shot left him a 10-foot putt for birdie and he put it away, leading to an emotional punch of the air as he realised he had done it.

Rory McIlroy also birdied the hole so there was no margin for error for the Chinese player.

4.30pm One to go. Both Li Haotong and Rory McIlroy par the 17th and it goes to the last. Li is one hole from winning the 2018 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Li is on -21 while McIlroy is on -20 along with Tyrrell Hatton, the latter is now in the clubhouse after carding a 66.

Li has birdied the 18th the past two days and if he repeats the feat for a third time he will almost certainly be champion.

Rory McIlroy has birdied the par-five hole every day and needs a minimum of a birdie realistically to force a play-off.

4.25pm It was a case of who blinks first and that person may well have been Rory McIlroy. He has bogied the 16th and that has given Li Haotong the outright lead on -20 with just two holes to play.

Given he bogied the first and then dropped two shots behind at the 10th, this will be a sensational effort from the Chinese player if he can see it home from here.

What does McIlroy have left in his locker?

4.05pm Brilliant nerve being shown by Li Haotong. He trailed by two shots with eight holes to go but he has just birdied the 15th to get back on level terms with Rory McIlroy with three holes remaining.

The pair are level on -21 and it is really coming down now to who will blink first.

Tyrrell Hatton remains on -20 as he plays the 18th, with the Englishman knowing he probably needs mistakes from the lead pair now if he is going to be champion in Dubai this year.

4pm Rory McIlroy remains ahead on -21 with just four holes to go. Li Haotong has birdied the 13th to move back to -20 alongside Tyrrell Hatton, with the latter now on the last hole of his round.

Nervy times.

3.35pm Rory McIlroy remains one shot clear with six holes to go, but he has a new nearest challenger.

Tyrrell Hatton's sixth birdie of the day at the 14th moves him to -20 and he is six under for the day.

Overnight leader Li Haotong is now two behind McIlroy on -19 after bogeying the 12th.

3.20pm Drama at the front. Rory McIlroy moves two clear at the front after he birdies the 10th while Li Haotong bogies the hole. But that two-shot lead lasts precisely one hole as McIlroy promptly drops a shot at the next hole and he falls back to -21, just one ahead now.

Quietly Tyrrell Hatton is coming into contention. The Englishman is -19 after a birdie at the 13th and if he finishes the last five holes well he could put the top two under real pressure.

2.55pm We are at the turn and there is still no separating Rory McIlroy and Li Haotong. They complete nine holes and are level pegging at -21.

Tyrrell Hatton is a man to watch though. The Englishman is -18 after 11 holes having picked up four birdies so far today.

Alexander Levy is on his own in fourth place on -17.

2.25pm The two leaders continue to match each other at Emirates Golf Club. Both Rory McIlroy and Li Haotong birdied the seventh to move to -21 and remain locked together at the front.

It is an impressive effort from the Chinese player, who has bounced back well from bogeying the first to match his more experienced playing partner.

Alexander Levy has birdied the sixth and seventh holes to move to -18, with Tyrrell Hatton up to -17 after a three-under first nine holes.

1.40pm This is setting up to be a two-horse race. Rory McIlroy and Li Haotong both birdie the third to move up to -20 and stay level pegging at the front of the field.

They are four ahead at this stage of a pack of nine golfers, including 2010 winner Miguel Angel Jimenez. Alexander Levy was on -17, but a bogey on the fourth has dropped the Frenchman back.

1.10pm Well, that did not last long. Li Haotong's one-shot lead at the Dubai Desert Classic lasted one hole. The Chinese player bogies the first to drop into a share of top spot at -19 with Rory McIlroy, who had begun with a par.

Alexander Levy is two shots behind on -17 after parring the first himself.

Everyone has now started their final round and business is going to start picking up.

12.40pm If the frontrunners at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic want encouragement that they can still fight for victory then they have been given it by Scotsman Richie Ramsay.

He has carded an eight-under 64 to be the early clubhouse leader on -16.

Leader Li Haotong tees off very shortly on -20, one shot ahead of Rory McIlroy.

11.40am Just over an hour until leader Li Haotong starts his final round at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Of the men already on the course, Richie Ramsay is the one grabbing the attention.

The Scotsman is six-under after 14 holes. That has moved him to -14 for the tournament and a tie for seventh at present.

Spaniard Adrian Otaegui is also going well at -14 after being five under for the day.

10.35am We are more than three hours into the final day now. There have no major low scores yet, with Adrian Otaegui, Richie Ramsay and Anthony Wall, who are all -3 for the day so far after nine holes, the most impressive of the early players on the Majils course.

As a reminder, leader Li Haotong tees off in the final group with Rory McIlroy at 12.43pm.

9.55am It looks like the opening holes are giving opportunities to pick up some shots. Scotsman Richie Ramsay is upto -11 after picking three shots in the first six holes.

Abu Dhabi runner-up Ross Fisher has also started his final round strongly with two birdies at the second and third to be also on -11 after four holes.

Daan Huizing remains last of the 69 players who made the cut, but the Dutchman who is even for the tournament is having a better time of it today after his 77 yesterday. He is level par through 13 holes today with five holes to go.

A post shared by Daan Huizing (@daan_huizing) on

9.25am Thomas Pieters put in an impressive performance in Abu Dhabi last weekend as he finished tied for fith. While the Belgian will not be winning in Dubai he looks to be bowing out in style. He is three-under after six holes and is up to a tie for 35th on -10, some 10 shots adrift of leader Li Haotong who does not start his final round for three hours.

One player not on the course today is Matthieu Pavon, who was disqualified for signing for a scorecard with an incorrect score, something he owned up to himself after realising his mistake.

8.40am Good morning! Welcome to the final day of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and it should be a thrilling final day with a number of narratives set to unfold before we have the 2018 winner crowned some time last this afternoon.

It is China's Li Haotong who leads the way on -20. He is one shot ahead of double Dubai champion Rory McIlroy, who is looking for a first tournament win since September 2016.

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Haydn Porteous and Alexander Levy are both three shots back on -17 and the top 14 players are covered by six shots so there are still a number of contenders for the title if they can string together a low final-day score.

The final pair of Li and McIlroy go out on the course at 12.43pm. All the tee times can be found here.

Play has been underway for 90 minutes today. Lee Slattery has given early encouragement that it could be another low scoring day.

The Englishman has picked up three birdies in his first six holes and is now -8 for the tournament.

You can follow the ebbs and the flows of the final round throughout the day on here.