Dubai, United Arab Emirates (SportsNetwork.com) - Rafael Cabrera-Bello fired a 7-under 65 on Saturday to jump into a share of the lead after three rounds of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
Cabrera-Bello joined defending champion Henrik Stenson at 14-under-par 202. Stenson carded a 4-under 68 in round three. The Swede has never successfully defended a title in his career.
Justin Rose also shot 68 on Saturday on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. The former U.S. Open winner is alone in third place at minus-11.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy managed to card a 2-under 70 despite a pair of double-bogeys. He was joined in fourth place at 10-under 206 by Tyrell Hatton (68), Thorbjorn Olesen (69) and Victor Dubuisson (67).
Marc Warren matched Cabrera-Bello's 65 to climb into a tie for eighth at minus-9. Warren stands alongside Robert Karlsson (68), Joost Luiten (68), Branden Grace (68) and Danny Willett (71).
Cabrera-Bello birdied the second for the third day in a row, and later posted back-to-back birdies at seven and eight. After five pars in a row, he made his move.
The Spaniard birdied the 14th, then got up and down for birdie on the par-5 15th to join Stenson at minus-12. Cabrera-Bello made it three in a row as he drained a 7-footer for birdie at the 16th to grab the lead at 13-under.
Cabrera-Bello, who has two European Tour wins, closed with a birdie at the 18th to get in first at minus-14.
"Obviously, it's been a very special round for me today. I'm really, really pleased with the score, and obviously with the good finish. The short game and putting has been unbelievable, probably the best day of my life for short game," Cabrera-Bello admitted. "I think that that's what helped me hang in there on the front nine and I did play better on the back nine. I was playing more aggressive going for it, hitting good shots, and giving myself a lot of chances and I did make some of them."
Stenson got his round going with a chip-in birdie at the fourth. After a trio of pars, he rolled in a 4-foot birdie chance on No. 8 to move to 12-under, where he joined Olesen atop the leaderboard.
Around the turn, Stenson followed five consecutive pars with a 2-putt birdie at the par-5 14th. He made it two in a row as he got up and down for birdie at the 15th. Stenson closed with three pars in a row to end alongside Cabrera- Bello.
"I felt a little stronger today, but I wasn't exactly jumping out of bed this morning. But what do you expect at 38 years old? I'm a little low on energy, but when the mind wants something you can pull through," said Stenson, who admitted to being tired and hitting the wall during his second round.
"It would be great to win. It's a great championship and it would mean a lot to defend a title and get the win. It's been a good year, but when you assess it, you always look at the trophies and there hasn't been one yet."
McIlroy birdied four of six holes from the fifth to jump to 12-under, where he was tied for the lead with Stenson. However, McIlroy faltered to double-bogeys at the 12th and 13th to fall four back. He recovered two of those strokes with birdies at 14 and 18.
NOTES: Cabrera-Bello has had at least a piece of the 54-hole lead three previous times on the European Tour, but failed to hold any of those leads ... Stenson has a share of the third-round lead for the 10th time in his tour career, and he has won four of the previous nine times he was in that position ... Along with Cabrera-Bello, Stenson, Olesen and McIlroy, Hatton and Willett also had a share of the lead early in the round.