McIlroy ahead of schedule in 2018

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy, a two-time victor of the tournament, went out alongside Sergio Garcia, the defending champion, and Henrik Stenson, another starry name on the event's stellar roll of honour.

Paul Lawrie made a promising start in the $3 million Omega Dubai Desert Classic - after only getting into the star-studded field an hour before teeing off.

The four-time major champion endured a winless, injury-hit 2017 and, despite placing third upon his return from a self-enforced break in Abu Dhabi last week, has slipped out of the top 10 in the world rankings.

The first grass golf course in the Middle East when it opened 30 years ago, Emirates Golf Club continues to innovate and revolutionise, with the introduction of state-of- the-art floodlights overlooking the combined ninth and 18th green ahead of this year's tournament the latest example.

"I am still following the doctor's advice, but he has said it could take two or three visits". I feel like I've got a bit of a spring back in my step because of what happened last week and very confident in myself.

As Glynn explains: "I think it's a testament to the design by Karl Litten, that players can hit the ball 60 or 70 yards longer now than when the course was built back in 1988, but this course still challenges them".


"I guess that has changed the way I view this week a little bit because of how I played last week". "With five holes to go, I started thinking about 59".

"Sometimes you're best not thinking and just keep playing but I was picturing birdieing them all and then jumping in the lake on the last".

McIlroy said the conditions were benign and he was glad to make the most of it.

"That's honestly one of my goals this year. So it's been nice to start the last couple weeks like that", he added. Yeah, I'm ahead of schedule right now, but I don't mind that. "I was not just down in the dumps because I was excited about the process of trying to get my body and my game better".

Unfortunately a bogey on the last would see him miss out on bettering Ernie Els' 24-year-old course record of 61. If someone had said to me at the start of the week you'd shoot 18 under par your first week back on, I thought, quite a hard golf course, I would have thought 18-under par would have a great chance to win.

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