Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell lead World Cup by two shots

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell
McIlroy and McDowell were seven under through their first 11 holes

Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell take a two-shot lead into the final round of the World Cup after an eight-under-par round of 64 in China.

The duo, who are 21 under, lead South Africa, Germany and the United States.

Germany's Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka and South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel hit the lowest rounds of the day, 11-under-par 61s.

Scotland and Wales are six shots off the pace while England are two shots further back at 13 under.

Starting the day tied for the lead with Australia, McIlroy and McDowell birdied five of the first seven holes at the southern Chinese island of Hainan to move ahead of the field in the fourball format, where each player hits his own ball round the course and the take the best score of the two.

The Northern Irishmen, who represent the whole of Ireland, added three more birdies on the back nine to maintain their lead.

"It would be incredible for G-Mac (McDowell) and myself to be able to add our names to the list of names and countries on the trophy, the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead," McIlroy said.

"They're just two American teams and feature four of the best players ever to play the game. So to be able to put your name on a trophy alongside their names would be something special."

McDowell added: "I completely agree with Rory because the legends of the game have won this trophy, and to go out there with one of your best friends and experience the highs and lows of this game, and hopefully it will be a high tomorrow, is going to be special."

However, the chasing pack will be buoyed by the fact that McIlroy and McDowell led by three shots with 11 holes to play in 2009 but were beaten by Italian brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari on the 18th in Shenzhen.

Kaymer and Cejka, who started the day on eight under, shot into contention with six birdies on the front nine, including a run of four from the sixth, while South African pair Oosthuizen and Schwartzel picked up six shots in seven holes on the back nine.

American duo Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland combined to sink 10 birdies in their nine-under-par 63, the only blemish being a bogey six on the par-five second.

Scotland's Martin Laird and Stephen Gallacher, who started the day in third, fell off the pace after mixing five birdies with two bogeys to improve their overall score by three shots.

"We had a pretty slow day," Gallacher told BBC Radio Scotland. "Nothing dropped for us.

"But we're only four shots off second place going into the twoball, when anything can happen."

Rhys Davies and Jamie Donaldson sank five birdies in their opening 10 holes as the Welsh pair carded a seven-under 65 to rise to 15 under.

English duo Ian Poulter and Justin Rose birdied five of the last seven holes in their four-under-par 68 but they are eight shots adrift of Ireland.

The 28 national teams finish the biennial event with the foursomes alternate shot format in Sunday's final round.

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