Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (SportsNetwork.com) - Martin Kaymer fired a bogey-free, 7-under 65 in the third round Saturday and he pushed his lead to six strokes at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Kaymer, who has already won this event three times, completed 54 holes at 20- under-par 196. His total of 196 broke the tournament's 54-hole scoring record. Paul Casey set the old mark of 197 in 2009.
The 30-year-old Kaymer, the reigning Players Championship and U.S. Open winner, will go for his 12th European Tour win on Sunday.
Thomas Pieters managed a 2-under 70, but he slid six strokes back at minus-14. Bernd Wiesberger carded a 6-under 66 on the National Course at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and he climbed into a share of third at 13-under 203. Wiesberger was joined there by Alexander Levy, who shot 67 in round three.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy managed just two birdies and a bogey in a round of 71. He fell eight strokes off the pace at minus-12. McIlroy shared fifth place with Charl Schwartzel (65) and Gary Stal (67).
McIlroy carded the only birdie of his opening nine at the sixth. Otherwise, he made par on 10 of the first 11 holes. McIlroy birdied the 12th, but gave that shot right back as he tripped to a bogey on No. 13.
"I'm very disappointed, I just didn't putt well, yesterday or today. I hit the ball just as well as I did yesterday and gave myself so many chances, but I didn't convert any. I was very wasteful today. It looks like I'm playing for second place tomorrow," admitted McIlroy.
"You're always trying to improve and get better and I'm going to have to do something a bit better on the greens to shoot a good number and finish the tournament off well."
Kaymer started his round with his third birdie in three days at the first. He followed with another birdie on the second as he got up and down from a greenside bunker to move to 15-under.
After Pieters inched within one thanks to a birdie at the third, Kaymer rolled in a 5-footer for birdie at the fifth. He converted his fourth birdie of the day at the seventh.
Kaymer's eagle chip at the eighth lipped out and he settled for a tap-in birdie, which pushed his lead to four strokes.
Around the turn, Kaymer kept his round going with a hole-out par at the 10th. His second shot at the par-5 hit a cart path and landed in a bush. After taking a drop, his fourth landed in a greenside bunker. Kaymer holed his bunker shot for an improbable par.
Kaymer poured in a long birdie effort at No. 11. He stuffed his approach at the 13th inside two feet and he kicked that in for birdie to move to 20-under. Kaymer closed out his round with five pars in a row.
"Hopefully it's going to be enough, I've really enjoyed the course. I've had a very solid three days, with only two bogeys in the first round," Kaymer said. "I'm a little bit surprised the way I played, but the first round showed me I made the right choice taking it a little bit easy over the winter."
Pieters had two early birdies that kept him close to Kaymer, but he parred five in a row from the fourth. Pieters birdied the ninth and was three back at the turn.
The Belgian started the back nine with seven more pars. Pieters stumbled to a bogey at the 17th to dip six back, and he parred the last to end there.
NOTES: Kaymer has the 54-hole lead for the 11th time on the European Tour, and he has won seven of the previous 10 times he was in that position ... Kaymer won this title in 2008, 2010 and 2011, and was the 54-hole leader each time ... Byeong-Hun An had his first career hole-in-one at the par-3 15th, and that was the fourth ace of the tournament.