Home » Dubai Desert Classic: Rory McIlroy takes three-shot lead into final round despite closing bogey

Dubai Desert Classic: Rory McIlroy takes three-shot lead into final round despite closing bogey

by Dubaiforum

Rory McIlroy produced two brilliant birdie runs to help take a commanding three-shot lead into the final round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

Rory McIlroy takes a three-shot lead into the final round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic

Published 5 hours ago

The world No 1, looking to win the event for the third time and make a winning start to 2023, charged up the leaderboard with a brilliant third-round 65 at Emirates Golf Club.

McIlroy birdied each of his first four holes and added four more in a five-hole stretch on his back nine, with his only blemish coming when he found water with his approach into the par-five last on his way to a closing bogey.

The 33-year-old sits on 15 under and three clear of English duo Callum Shinkwin and Dan Bradbury, McIlroy’s playing partners for Monday’s final round, with LIV golf members Ian Poulter and Patrick Reed among the large group four off the pace in tied-fourth.

“I felt like the good golf came in sort of two bursts today,” McIlroy said. “Then the rest of it, it was okay. I held it together. I still don’t feel quite in control of my game, but today was much better than yesterday.”

McIlroy started two off the halfway lead but quickly moved two ahead after his four-birdie start, only for Adri Arnaus – playing in the penultimate group – followed a 25-foot birdie at the first by a chip-in eagle from off the third green to move tied for the lead.

Arnaus edged ahead with a birdie at the eighth but bogeyed the next, while McIlroy continued his run of pars by pitching from the rough to 15 feet and scrambling an unlikely save at the par-three 11th.

The four-time major champion edged back ahead with a two-putt birdie at the par-five 13th, where Arnaus hit a tree and then found the water on his way to a double-bogey seven, with McIlroy adding further birdies on each of his next two holes.

A tap-in birdie at the driveable 17th temporarily gave McIlroy a four-shot advantage, only for him to send his approach shot at the last into the water and make a first bogey since the 11th hole of his opening round.

“I don’t think I’ve ever won in my first start of the year. I had plenty of chances at Abu Dhabi down the road over the years and never quite got it done, so tomorrow is a nice opportunity to try to do something that I’ve never done before.”

Shinkwin birdied his final two holes to get to 12 under alongside Bradbury, who also birdied the last, while Richard Bland threatened a late charge for the lead until he bogeyed the 17th and failed to take advantage of the par-five 18th.

Reed also bogeyed the 17th after hitting a ball into a tree, with Bland, Poulter, Arnaus, Shaun Norris, Victor Perez – who carded a bogey-free 66 – and Angel Hidalgo completing the group on 11 under.

“It was an unfortunate break there, but at the end of the day, I felt like I rebounded really well,” Reed said.

“I just need to tighten it up a little bit and just make a couple more putts. The good thing is I played the par-fives a little better today.”

The Hero Dubai Desert Classic has been dragged into a Monday finish due to the weather delays earlier in the week at the Rolex Series event, with the final round played in threeballs and the final group going out at 9.25am local time (5.25am GMT).

Who will win the Hero Dubai Desert Classic? Watch the final round live on Monday from 5am on Sky Sports Golf.

© Sky News | McIlroy builds commanding Dubai lead despite late blunder

Sky News


You may also like

About Dubai Forum

Dubai Forum: your daily source for the latest news from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and the broader Middle East region. Our coverage includes updates on people, lifestyle, communities, business, startups, and finance, keeping you informed on all facets of the dynamic Dubai scene. #Dubaicommunities #people #travel #startups #DubaiForum