AP/Press Association Images Rory McIlroy finished his delayed second round superbly.

Late birdies boost Rory McIlroy in Abu Dhabi

“I said, let’s finish 3-3 and I was able to that,” said McIlroy.

WORLD NUMBER THREE Rory McIlroy turned around his disappointing outing in the space of two holes and finished the weather-interrupted second round just two shots behind leader Andy Sullivan in the $2.7 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship today.

Early-morning fog on Friday at Abu Dhabi Golf Club had forced suspension of play that caused the second round to be completed on Saturday.

The start was once again delayed, this time by two hours and 50 minutes.

McIlroy, playing alongside world number one Jordan Spieth and number six Rickie Fowler, came back to complete his remaining five holes, and was still without any birdie and one-over for the round when he stepped on the 17th tee.

“I said, let’s finish 3-3 and I was able to that,” said McIlroy, who made a birdie on the par-4 17th and then smashed a laser-guided five-wood second shot that almost holed out for an albatross.

The Northern Irishman tapped in for an eagle to finish on two-under par 70.

“I knew I needed something and I knew I wanted to finish well and I knew 18 was a chance and 17 playing downwind, I would have a wedge in there. So I knew I had a couple of good chances.

“But I didn’t quite expect to do it on 18 there. That was a nice way to finish,” said McIlroy, who finished tied for second place alongside first-round leader, American amateur Bryson DeChambeau (72).

“It was an average round to be fair but that’s the thing, even when you’re not really at your best, to be able to come away with a 70 and still keep within it up of the leaders, I’m really happy with that.”

Spieth (73) parred his last five holes to remain at three-under par, while Fowler (68) started with a bogey on the 14th hole, but added a couple of birdies on the 16th and 18th to be tied 11th at six-under par.

The cut was applied at one-under par 143.

  • Second-round scores in the $2.7million Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Saturday at the par-72 National course of Abu Dhabi Golf Club:

134 – Andy Sullivan (ENG) 67-67

136 –  Rory McIlroy (NIR) 66-70, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 64-72

137 – Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP) 70-67, Joost Luiten (NED) 69-68, Robert Rock (ENG) 70-67, Byeong-hun An (KOR) 69-68, Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 68-69, David Howell (ENG) 68-69, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 65-72

138 – Peter Hanson (SWE) 69-69, Rickie Fowler (USA) 70-68, Martin Kaymer (GER) 69-69, Richard Bland (ENG) 67-71

139 – Richie Ramsay (SCO) 73-66, Bradley Dredge (WAL) 72-67, Prom Meesawat (THA) 72-67, David Horsey (ENG) 71-68, Ian Poulter (ENG) 70-69, Trevor Fisher Jr (RSA) 69-70, Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG) 68-71, Fabrizio Zannotti (PAR) 70-69, Matthew Baldwin (ENG) 69-70, Wade Ormsby (AUS) 69-70

140 – Johan Carlsson (SWE) 69-71, Niclas Fasth (SWE) 68-72, Branden Grace (RSA) 66-74, Brett Rumford (AUS) 73-67, Marcel Siem (GER) 72-68, James Morrison (ENG) 72-68, Roope Kakko (FIN) 72-68

141 – Eduardo De La Riva (ESP) 72-69, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 71-70, Simon Dyson (ENG) 69-72, Wu Ashun (PRC) 69-72, Michael Hoey (NIR) 72-69, Tyrell Hatton (ENG) 72-69, Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 70-71, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 70-71, George Coetzee (RSA) 69-72, Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 69-72, Jordan Spieth (USA) 68-73, Eddie Pepperell (ENG) 70-71

142 – Ben Evans (ENG) 70-72, Maximilian Kieffer (GER) 71-71, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 72-70, Kristoffer Broberg (SWE) 73-69, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 69-73, Brandon Stone (RSA) 73-69, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (FRA) 70-72, Alezandro Canizares (ESP) 71-71, Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 71-71, Alex Noren (SWE) 72-70, Mikko Korhonen (FIN) 69-73, David Drysdale (SCO) 71-71

- © AFP, 2016

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