Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 December 2019

Rory McIlroy bounces back with blemish-free 65 at DP World Tour Championship

Northern Irishman two shots behind joint-leaders Jon Rahm and Mike Lorenzo-Vera

Rory McIlroy recovered from his 74 on Friday to find himself two strokes behind the leaders at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on Saturday. AP
Rory McIlroy recovered from his 74 on Friday to find himself two strokes behind the leaders at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on Saturday. AP

If Rory McIlroy’s 74 on Friday at the DP World Tour Championship surprised somewhat, his rebound in Round 3 did not.

That’s what you get from a world No 2, one with four majors in the bag and enjoying his most consistent season in 12 years as a professional. McIlroy has already won four times this year. He’s a two-time winner of the ongoing event in the UAE.

So the Northern Irishman regrouped and recalibrated. He shot a blemish-free 65 that felt more akin to his opening-day 64, a knock that comprised five birdies, an eagle and an excellent par-save on the last after finding the water.

By the end of Saturday, McIlroy was third, two shots off joint-leaders Jon Rahm and Mike Lorenzo-Vera.

Suppose bouncing back from adversity is what champions do.

“Not just golf, but that's what life is all about,” McIlroy said. “It's learning from what you do and being of a present mind so that you can learn as you go. I figured out what I did wrong yesterday, and was able to rectify it somewhat today and get myself back in the tournament.”

He has indeed. The eagle on the par-5 7th helped considerably, McIlroy’s second of the week. It was unerringly similar to his “shot of the year” into the last on Thursday, although this time he had 255 yards to the pin and another 10 added given the gradient. It stopped six feet from the flag.

“I hit a couple of nice fairway wood shots this week and being able to take advantage of them with a couple of eagles, it's always nice to keep the round going like that,” McIlroy said, with some understatement.

It would be even nicer to conclude a superb 2019 with a third DPWTC crown.

“Really cool, especially with the guys that are up there around the lead," McIlroy said. "Rahmbo is playing great. Tommy [Fleetwood]; obviously Mike is holding steady up there.

“I've got to play another really good round tomorrow to have a chance, but yeah, it would be awesome to win around here again, and obviously cap off what has been a great 2019. It would be wonderful going into the break to finish on a high.”

Updated: November 23, 2019 06:25 PM

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