BRILLIANT RORY MCILROY SURGES INTO DUBAI INVITATIONAL LEAD ON ACTION-PACKED DAY ONE
Rory McIlroy made a stunning start to the defence of his Race to Dubai title as a bogey-free 62 handed him a two-shot lead after day one of the inaugural Dubai Invitational.
The Northern Irishman was teeing it up for the first time since being presented with his fifth Harry Vardon Trophy at the DP World Tour Championship and he returned to the United Arab Emirates looking for a sixth career win in Dubai, the place where he claimed his first nearly 15 years ago.
His nine birdies saw him lead the way from Germany’s Yannik Paul, with South African Thriston Lawrence at six under. Multiple DP World Tour winners and Ryder Cup stars Tommy Fleetwood and Thorbjørn Olesen were then four shots off the lead.
“I didn’t expect that,” said McIlroy. “It didn’t feel quite as good as that the first couple of days when I was here and hitting balls and playing the course. It was nice to get a card in the hand again and sort of feel the competitive juices flowing. This is a nice week to do some extra practice and put some work in so that I feel a bit more ready not just for next week… but also going into the bulk of the season.”
In the team event, McIlroy and tournament host Abdulla Al Naboodah led the way at 13 under, three shots clear of Paul and JJ Dudum.
Dwight Yorke “pretty happy” with first-round performance
With the brand-new tournament beginning this week, Premier League stars past and present have been gracing Dubai Creek Resort with their presence both on and off the course.
Former Manchester United star Dwight Yorke, playing alongside professional Matthew Southgate in the first round of the team event, finished tied in 19th place on five under par. “It was a bit of a mixed bag but overall pretty happy,” said Yorke. “We would have like to have done a tad better but nevertheless it was a great time. Matthew was a super guy to be around and real fun, and he’s obviously a really good player.”
Off the course, Arsenal and England star Declan Rice joined McIlroy for his practise round on Wednesday. Rice, a keen golfer himself, was full of praise for the World Number Two. “Seeing him up close and getting to know him on a personal level was really special,” said Rice. “Just being up close and personal as a golf fan, seeing how he works, it’s been so good to walk round and see how precise he is. The difference between being a good golfer and being a top golfer is clear to see.”
The Dubai Invitational features a number of on-course activations to keep players and spectators entertained. The third hole includes a replica Gulfstream G800 model jet, while professional players will be able to win a BMW i7 car by hitting a hole in one on the 14th hole and one million World of Hyatt bonus points for sinking a hole in one off the eighth tee.
Dubai Creek cleanup
Aligned with the DP World Tour’s focus on sustainability, Dubai Creek Resort staff, residents, and members came together to assist the venue team with a cleanup of the Dubai Creek shoreline that runs along the course, in preparation for the tournament. The practice is normally performed four times per year with the aim of clearing accumulated plastic and other waste along the shoreline.
Last Updated on 6 days by Middle East News 247