DUBAI (AFP) – Rory McIlroy enjoyed a spectacular finish to his opening round as further weather delays at the Dubai Desert Classic on Friday forced organisers to schedule tomorrow finish.
Sweden’s world amateur number one Ludvig Aberg and Ian Poulter shared the 18-hole lead after seven-under-par 65s.
Most of the field did not even have time to start their second rounds before darkness fell, although Poulter was joined at the top of the leaderboard on eight-under by Richard Bland after a few holes of round two. World number one McIlroy fired a six-under first round of 66, returning after a solid start on Thursday to finish in stunning fashion.
He made a birdie, eagle and another birdie in his closing three holes.
That included a holed-out second shot on the par-four eighth, his penultimate hole, and a near eagle on the par-four ninth.
“I should not have warmed up for an hour,” quipped McIlroy.”I was hopeful that I would hole that birdie putt on seventh (he hit his tee shot to four feet when play was suspended on Thursday) and get to three-under and then maybe birdie one of the last two and get to four-under.
“I would have been ecstatic with that. To do what I did, it glosses over the golf I played.
There’s no way I should have shot six-under par out there for the last couple days.
“I feel lucky to be in this position. I could have been at least four or five shots worse. Usually, I would be the master at turning 66s into 70s, and that was a 70 turned into a 66.”
The Dubai Desert Classic is the second straight week of Rolex Series events on the European Tour. The winner walks away with USD1.53 million and Ryder Cup points.