Jan 11, 2024, 06: 28 AM ET
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Rory McIlroy is enjoying the Dubai Invitational as a prefer to a chum and to catch in some early-one year notice in stress-free climate conditions.
The sort he has started, McIlroy would possibly seemingly now stay unsleeping taking dwelling the trophy.
The No. 2-ranked Northern Irishman made 9 birdies in a bogey-free, 9-below 62 to purchase a two-shot lead after the main round of the European tour match Thursday.
“Greatly surprised myself slightly bit,” McIlroy talked about, “nonetheless confidently extra of the identical over the following couple of days.”
Yannik Paul (64) changed into as soon as alone in 2nd space at Dubai Creek Resort, with Thriston Lawrence (65) an further stroke motivate and Tommy Fleetwood and Thorbjorn Olesen tied for fourth space after 66s.
McIlroy sees the Dubai match — a match in a relaxed environment, without a gash again and a 60-man discipline — as a gentle system to ease into 2024. He absolutely checked out dwelling motivate in Dubai, the place he as soon as lived and a neighborhood he in most cases visits early in the one year to ravishing-tune his game.
In the team fragment of the match, he partnered with Abdullah Al Naboodah, a non-executive director at the European tour who helped popularity up the Dubai Invitational and is anyone McIlroy counts without a consideration buddy.
Initiating at No. 10, McIlroy made six birdies in eight holes at some level of the turn during a spell the place he made six straight 3s.
He took the lead outright at 8 below with a birdie from 5 toes at No. 7 then made any other at his last gap after a sizable system from the rough to the animated of the golf green to inside 8 toes.
“I didn’t inquire of that,” McIlroy talked about after tying the bottom first round of his occupation on the European tour. “It didn’t in actuality feel moderately as exact as that the main couple of days as soon as I changed into as soon as here and hitting balls and enjoying the route.
“Nonetheless it changed into as soon as nice to catch a card in the hand again and build of in actuality feel the aggressive juices flowing.”