Dubai progress but Rory McIlroy frustrated

Rory McIlroy justifiably felt a bogey-free second round of 66 could have been even better as he moved into contention for a third Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic title.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 29th January 2022, 1:48 am

McIlroy, who won his first DP World Tour title at Emirates Golf Club in 2009 and lifted the trophy again in 2015, chipped in for an eagle on the 13th and also made four birdies to finish seven under par, four behind leader Justin Harding.

But the four-time major winner also let slip a number of opportunities on the layout’s new putting surfaces, most notably three-putting from 48 feet after driving the green on the 351-yard second hole.

“Could have been way lower,” Northern Ireland’s McIlroy said when asked to assess his score. “I certainly hit the ball well enough for it to be lower.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy on the 14th hole in the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic. Pic by PA.

“I missed a few opportunities but with the way these new greens are, they get a bit chewed up in the afternoons and start to wiggle a little bit if there isn’t a lot of speed on them.

“So yeah, I certainly hit the ball as good as I’ve done in a long time, and it could have been a few better but 66 this afternoon is a good score and sets me up for a nice weekend.

“With how I ended last year, I certainly found something, got a bit of momentum.

“I won on the PGA Tour and had a really good chance to win here in Dubai at the end of last season...it feels good.

“There’s so many ebbs and flows in this game and the career is so long that it’s sort of hard to compare one year to the next and how you’re feeling and how you’re hitting it.

“But I think looking back on my last 12, 14 years or whatever it’s been, the body of work is there, and I’ve played well when I haven’t felt so good and I played poorly when I felt really good.

“It’s just a matter of keep showing up each and every day and try to put the lowest score possible on the scorecard and move on.”

Harding added a 68 to his opening 65 to reach 11 under par, the South African aided by a spectacular eagle from 183 yards on the sixth, his 15th hole of the day.

“It might be the first time I’ve ever hit the fairway there, it’s a hole that I bail on over the years,” Harding said. “I had a good number which allowed me to pitch it 10 or 15 (yards) short of the hole and the cameraman actually said, ‘I like it’. I thought he was joking.

“It was just a good swing but an added bonus with going in makes up for a couple other things around the golf course.”

--

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world.

But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Thank you