Tag: Graeme McDowell

Dubai Desert Classic: Rory McIlroy leads after sublime 64

World number one Rory McIlroy fired a sublime eight-under 64 to move to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Dubai Desert Classic.

McIlroy carded eight birdies and missed several other chances as he took a one-shot lead over Scotland’s Marc Warren.

Warren led for much of the day after his 65 left him on 13 under but McIlroy finished with three straight birdies.

Graeme McDowell and England’s Seve Benson share third on 12 under with Lee Westwood among a group on 11 under.

McDowell matched Warren’s 65 with Benson carding a second successive 66 but the dominant feature on another glorious day of sunshine was McIlroy’s magnificent ball-striking.

The 25-year-old Northern Irishman reached the green with his drive on the 351-yard par-four second and picked up five shots in his opening 11 holes to move to 11 under.

His momentum was then halted as he missed three successive short birdie-putts from the 12th but his mini-wobble was emphatically ended by three closing birdies, which included an 18-foot effort at the last.

“I felt like I played very nicely. Couldn’t ask for much more; bogey-free, made birdies, and set myself up for a good run over the next couple of days,” said McIlroy of his round at the Emirates Club, where he recorded his first victory as a professional in 2009.

Read more at BBC Sport