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Pair of eagles puts Gallacher on course for win

ESPN staff
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Stephen Gallacher could seal victory on Sunday © Getty Images
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Dubai Desert Classic leaderboard

Two eagles in the closing six holes for Stephen Gallacher enabled the Scot to grab a three-shot lead going into the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

Among the leaders ahead of Saturday's third round, Gallacher thrust himself into contention as he reached six-under for the day after just 12 holes. But it was at the 13th - and then, with a perfect approach shot, again at the 18th - where the Scot burst into the ascendancy, an eagle three giving him control of the tournament.

The resulting round of 62 was enough to put him 21-under-par overall - the lowest 54-hole total in the history of the competition.

If he does hold on to win on Sunday, it will be Gallacher's second European Tour title - having clinched the Dunhill Links Championship back in 2004.

"I'm excited and looking forward to tomorrow," Gallacher said. "I'm pretty familiar with his course - I come out here on holiday with the family.

"I struggled last week [at the Qatar Masters] and my driver cracked, but with the new one I'm hitting more fairways and I've putted really good."

Gallacher's nearest challenger going into Sunday is South African Richard Sterne - who reached 18-under after carding a 66 - while Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen is also within reach at 16-under after his round of 67.

At 14-under par, Felipe Aguilar, Jeev Milkha Singh and Tommy Fleetwood may also all consider themselves to have slim hopes of tournament victory.

Further down the leaderboard, world No. 8 Lee Westwood took advantage of any early tee time in rainy conditions in Dubai to march round the Emirates course in 66 shots - but his 54-hole total of 12-under par quickly looked insufficient as Gallacher found his stride.

The Englishman nevertheless finished two shots clear of Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard, having struggled with a back issue on Friday, was perhaps restricted as he lost ground with a mediocre score of 71.

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