DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Tommy Fleetwood surged into the lead of the Dubai Invitational after shooting an 8-under 63 in the third round Saturday to overtake Rory McIlroy by 1 stroke.

Fleetwood made eight birdies in a flawless round, including four over his first six holes, to move to a 15-under total of 198.

McIlroy had been out in front since opening with a 62 on Thursday and led by 2 strokes going into the third round. But he settled for a 67 that left him in sole possession of second place.

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Thorbjorn Olesen was another 2 shots back in third after a 66.

Fleetwood has six wins on the European tour but was surprised when he was told that this is the first time since 2014 that he is going into the final round with the lead.

"That's a strange stat," Fleetwood said, adding that his early birdies gave him momentum with the putter. "It's funny really when you get a day like that and you're just looking at them and you feel like ... even the putts that miss come close."

His approach shots weren't bad either. He came within a few inches of holing out for eagle from 147 yards on the par-4 sixth hole.

McIlroy found himself 3 shots behind Fleetwood at one point but had four birdies on the back nine to stay in contention. That included a 34-footer on the 11th after hitting his tee shot into a bunker.