Dubai: Barring a spectacular collapse on the final day, England's Luke Donald is all set to create history by becoming the first ever player to win the Money List on both the US PGA and the European Tours in the same season.
While Donald produced a a solid, bogey-free third round of six-under par 66 on Saturday it was Rory McIlroy's failure to make any impact following a listless performance that should help the Englishman's accession to the throne.
McIlroy, who needs to win the $7.5 million Dubai World Championship to have an outside chance of winning the European Tour's Race to Dubai, struggled throughout the day and finished with a one-under par round of 71 for an eight-under par total of 208.
But with Spain's Alvaro Quiros leading the tournament at 14-under par 202 following a round of 70, it would take a superhuman effort from the 22-year-old on Sunday.
McIlroy's challenge was well and truly over on the par-5 seventh, when his second shot veered left into the bushes.
He had to take an unplayable and ended up with a double bogey seven. And although he played the back nine in 32 shots, he conceded the Race to Donald.
"The Race is over," said McIlroy, who made one bogey and four birdies apart from the double.
"Luke is in a great position and he has played great the last couple of days. I expect him to go out and shoot another very solid round tomorrow and wrap this thing up.
"He deserves it. He plays great all year. He deserves to be the No.1 in the world and he deserves to win both Money Lists. He's had an incredible year."
However, Donald said he is still not taking things for granted.
"You can't take anything for granted in this game. I would be foolish to expect that it's over. Tomorrow it will be just like any other day in terms of my focus will be on trying to catch whoever is the leader and trying to win the tournament," said the world No.1.
"I'm certainly in a good position. But I'm not going to try and think like that. I'm going to try and treat tomorrow's round like the fourth round of any other tournament. I am looking to win the tournament and I said from the start; I could get in trouble if I concentrate on that ninth place position.
"At times, it's been tough not to. In a certain way, it's almost felt a little bit like Q-School. I haven't been there for ten years, but doing all the great work that I've done this year, if I wasn't able to quite complete it, I feel like I'd walk away missing out something."
In the midst of the Donald-McIlroy battle, the man wearing the biggest smile was Quiros.
Despite starting the day with a bogey and ending with another, he did enough good work in the middle for a two-under par 70.
That gave him a two-shot lead going into the final day over Scotland's Paul Lawrie, who eagled the final hole in his 66, while South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen also returned a similar score to be one ahead of Donald in sole third place at 205.
Despite the bogey on the final hole, Quiros said: "I am happy and positive because it's the only way to see it. I'm still leading the tournament, and even when the day wasn't the best one, I'm still hitting good shots and good putts. So this is the only thing that matters.
"I have another day to go, and I am looking forward to tomorrow."