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Solid start for McIlroy as Wozniacki watches on in Dubai

Henrik Stenson shows no signs of letting his advantage slip as the DP World Tour Championship gets underway.

Rory and Woz: do they look broken up to you?
Rory and Woz: do they look broken up to you?
Image: Kamran Jebreili/AP/Press Association Images

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI WAS in Dubai to watch boyfriend Rory McIlroy at the end-of-season DP World Tour Championship.

McIlroy birdied three of the first four holes before costly mistakes saw him finish on a solid one-under-par, five shots off the early pace.

The 24-year-old will hand over his Order of Merit crown this week after a disappointing season which has seen him drop to sixth in the world.

As well as his patchy form, McIlroy has had to put up with persistent speculation about his relationship with Danish tennis star Wozniacki.

The two were spotted arm-in-arm at Jumeirah Golf Estates on Thursday where Spain’s Alejandro Canizares holds the early clubhouse lead on six-under.

Earlier Graeme McDowell tipped his long-time friend to finish the season on a high.

“”We all go through the learning curves and we all experience things that throw us outside of our comfort zone,” McDowell said on Wednesday.

“I can’t really relate to what he’s experienced this year. You know, he’s certainly in a different echelon from any echelon I’ve ever been in my career; the way he’s burst onto the number one in the world, two‑time Major champion, and all of the things he’s accomplished the last couple years.

It’s difficult to relate to all that he’s experienced this year, but I can only assume that he’s getting comfortable in his new skin as a global superstar, and we shouldn’t sort of take that lightly.

It’s a big ask, and you know, he’s certainly still got the talent. Like I say, wouldn’t be surprised to see him winning this week.

McDowell, who came into the week in third place on the Tour money list, struggled to two-over after the first nine holes of his round.

Offaly’s Shane Lowry was alongside McIlroy in the clubhouse on one-under.

But Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson is showing no signs of letting his advantage slip with four birdies through ten holes.

Check the latest scores from the DP World Tour Championship

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Niall Kelly

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