Thursday, February 04, 2016

Rory McIlroy posts opening round 68 to be 

two shots off Dubai Desert Classic lead

By Ali Stafford
Rory McIlroy remains upbeat about his chances of continuing his impressive record in Dubai after getting off to a steady start to the Dubai Desert Classic.
The defending champion recovered from an opening-hole bogey to card a four-under 68 at Emirates GC, leaving the world No 2 within two strokes of early pacesetter Alex Noren.
Beginning on the back nine, McIlroy reached the turn in 35 before bouncing back from another dropped shot to post three birdies in a four-hole stretch and move up the leaderboard.

"I thought I did well considering the start and considering some of the shots I hit throughout the round," McIlroy told Sky Sports 4. "All in all it was a decent day and a decent score.
"I feel like 68 was a fair reflection of how I played. I don't think I could've gone any lower than that, but at the same time I gave myself plenty of chances for birdies."
Having taking two attempts to get out a greenside bunker to bogey the 10th, McIlroy bounced back with a tap-in birdie at the par-five 13th after negotiating a palm tree with his approach.
An eight-foot gain at the next was followed by another at the 18th, where McIlroy found the water off the tee but struck his long iron to seven feet after a penalty drop and sunk the birdie putt.

McIlroy posted a second dropped shot of the day when he hooked his drive at the second into trees and missed the fairway trying to escape, but immediately recovered to two-putt the next for birdie.
A ten-foot gain at the fifth was followed by a kick-in birdie at the sixth when McIlroy almost holed his approach into the par-four, before he closed his round with three pars.
Paul Lawrie, leader after three rounds in Qatar last week, shot a disappointing one-over 73 after birdieing the first two holes. He bogeyed the fifth and had a double bogey 5 at the short ninth before birdieing the ninth to be out in 36.
He had one more birdie, at the 16th, but also one more bogey.

At the time of writing, noon UK time, there were still players out on the course.

To view the scoreboard




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