Nov 19th, 2021
McIlroy off to fast start in Dubai
Four time major winner leads DP World Tour Championship
Photography: Getty Images
The four-time Major Champion followed a birdie on the first with an eagle on the second and he was six under through his first eight holes on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates, before dropping his only bogey of the day on the ninth.
He regained that shot on the next hole before ending a run of seven consecutive pars with a birdie on the last after a delightful pitch to four feet from the front edge of the green.
“I've been coming back here now for 12 years and it flies by. I think a lot of experience around this place, a lot of great memories and memories of great shots and great putts," said McIlroy,
"It's comfortable for me. I think if you can carry the ball over 300 on this course. It gets a lot easier, just getting over some of those fairway bunkers and the landing areas become that bit wider."
McIlroy is hoping to become the first three-time winner of the DP World Tour Championship having previously won the title in 2012 and 2015. He is also targeting a second victory in consecutive appearances at the end of 2021, having won The CJ Cup @ Summit on the PGA TOUR last month.
He is two strokes clear of Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen, South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Denmark’s Joachim B Hansen, the winner of last week’s Aviv Dubai Championship on the neighbouring Fire Course.
Race to Dubai leader Collin Morikawa posted six birdies and two bogeys in a four-under-par round of 68 to sit in ten-way share of fifth place, three shots back. The Open Champion remains firmly on course to become the first American winner of the Race to Dubai, with his nearest rival Billy Horschel opening with a two-over-par round of 74 in a share of 45th position.