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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 16 January, 2019

Magnificent McIlroy burns it up on day one in Dubai

McIlroy’s 65 leaves him two shots off the early pace set by David Horsey.

McIlroy: another bogey-free round.
McIlroy: another bogey-free round.
Image: Kamran Jebreili

RORY MCILROY CONTINUED his red-hot start to 2018 with a blistering opening round at the Dubai Desert Classic.

McIlroy shot a bogey-free 65 and sits in a tie for second place on seven-under par, two shots behind early leader David Horsey of England.

After finishing tied-third in his comeback event at the HSBC Championship last week, McIlroy started Thursday’s round in the same vein with early birdies at the 11th, 13th and 15th.

His round hit a high point at the turn with three straight birdies on the 18th, 1st and 2nd to move to six-under par.

He rolled in another birdie from off the green at the par-three 4th before finishing with five straight pars for a 65.

“I didn’t expect to play as well as I did last week and it’s been nice to continue that into this week,” he told the official European Tour website.

“I’m ahead of schedule right now but I don’t mind that. That’s nice. Just have to reassess everything and go from there.

“I was excited about the process of trying to get better and trying to get my body better, my game better, so I was excited about that.

“But not being able to play to my best last year was something that I was very frustrated with.

“From then until now, it’s completely different. I’m really happy with where my body is, where my game is, and this is just a progression of what I’ve seen over the past couple of months, which has been nice.”

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Niall Kelly

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