Luke Donald took a notable step towards an historic US and European money list double after a fine third round at the Dubai World Championship.
The world number one needs a top-nine finish and he moved from joint 12th to fourth place at 10 under after a 66.
Rory McIlroy would claim the money list by winning the event if Donald were to drop back but, although he birdied the last in a 71, he is six off the lead.
Alvaro Quiros is two strokes ahead after a 70 took him to 14 under.
Donald described his bogey-free day as "the perfect round for me - exactly what I wanted."
He had started his first two rounds with a dropped shot, but this time it was with a 14-foot birdie putt and he holed from inside two feet at the eighth for his fourth birdie of the day.
In contrast, McIlroy, who began the day three ahead of Donald, made a poor start.
He drove into a bunker at the third and failed to get up and down from just off the green while, at the par five seventh, he ran up a double bogey after his second shot found a bush and he was forced to take a penalty drop.
McIlroy recovered admirably on the back nine, with four birdies and no dropped shots from the 11th, culminating in a deft chip and putt from a perilous position just short of the creek in front of the final green.
However, he admitted his chances of winning the tournament and Donald finishing outside the top-nine were no longer realistic.
"It's over," said the 22-year-old, who has been battling with a possible case of Dengue fever. "Luke is in a great position and has played great all year. He deserves it, he's had an incredible year."
Donald briefly moved into a tie for second, four behind Quiros, when he added birdies on the 15th and 16th, first chipping to two feet and then hitting his approach to six feet, before missing a putt for a 65 at the last.
The 34-year-old insisted he was not aware of McIlroy's round and said: "The first time I saw a leaderboard was on the 13th I think. I tried not to really look and just kind of concentrated on my own game.
"The couple of times I did look I didn't see his name on there so obviously he wasn't playing his best today. But it didn't really change anything for me, other than maybe a slight ease and peace of mind. My career has been built on consistency and today was a good example of that.
"It is going to be a tough day tomorrow. I'm going to feel it but I'm in a good position."
Quiros still leads, but his four-shot overnight advantage was halved after he finished with a bogey six.
Europe's longest hitter for the fourth time in five seasons was in the rough off the tee at the par five, and took three from the edge of the green.
His nearest rival is veteran Scot Paul Lawrie, the world number 163, who ended nine years without a title with victory at the Andalucia Open in March.
The 42-year-old eagled the closing hole with a 40-foot putt to return a 66.