At the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates, England’s Donald shot a bogey-free round of seven-under par 65, while McIlroy could have joined him on the top but had to be satisfied with a par on the par-5 final hole after hitting his tee shot into the water.
That left McIlroy, who has already won the European Tour’s Race to Dubai crown by taking an unassailable lead on top of the Money List, at six-under par 66 and tied for second with Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Scotland's Marc Warren.
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