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McIlroy blazes to 64, but stays one short of the lead at DP World golf

V Krishnaswamy Dubai | Updated on November 22, 2019 Published on November 22, 2019

Rory McIlroy (file photo)

Rory McIlroy may not have a chance to win the Race to Dubai for a fourth time, but he badly wants to win the DP World Tour Championship a third time. After being five-under for the first seven holes he went four-under for the last four to stitch an eight-under 64 in the first round of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. Yet, he was one short of the lead on the opening day

Mike Lorenzo-Vera still feeling unwell following a lung infection, and coming of a round of 80 from Sunday at the Nedbank Challenge, shot nine-under 63 that began with an eagle on second and ended with four birdies in last four holes for the shoot the lowest opening round in tournament history.

World Number Two McIlroy had five birdies and three lip outs on the front nine. If that was not enough he hit an incredible second shot to three feet for a closing eagle in his lowest round at this event.

"I started great obviously but then the finish was lovely," said McIlroy. "Finished with four threes in a row which always does the job around here. The two shots into the last were right up there with the two best shots I've hit this year, I would say.

"I'm feeling comfortable with my game, I have done for the last while. I felt like today was just more of the same of how I've been feeling."

McIlroy dropped a shot at the 12th but back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th had him back in the hunt before he hit an incredible second shot on the last.

Jon Rahm, one of five players who can be crowned Europe's Number One on Sunday, shot six under par 66 and Tommy Fleetwood fired a 67 to sit alongside fellow Englishman Tom Lewis.

Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger was two-under, a shot clear of fellow contender Matthew Fitzpatrick and three ahead of Open Champion Shane Lowry.

Lorenzo-Vera revealed, “Honestly I'm not feeling well at all. I have no energy. I had a big lung infection in South Africa and a big treatment and really feel bad on top of that.

"I felt that if I really relaxed a lot, just swing it like 70 per cent or maybe less, the ball was still flying pretty well. Try to be pretty clever and not too aggressive and then the putter got hot. So that worked."

Lorenzo-Vera eagled the par five second before picking up a shot on the third and while he bogeyed the next, a birdie on the seventh had him in a share of the lead at the turn.

He hit the front on his own after a birdie on the 11th and added another on the 13th before holing a huge left to right putt on the 15th.

An approach to six feet at the 16th and birdie on the 17th meant he led by three and McIlroy was soon in a share of second with an incredible start. After lipping out for birdie at the first, he made a two putt gain on the second and put his approach to three feet for the next.

It could have been four birdies from four when he lipped out again on the fourth but he holed long ones on the fifth and sixth before a two putt birdie on the seventh moved him to five under.

Lorenzo-Vera hit his approach to five feet on the last to birdie and finish at 63.

Lewis eagled the last from seven feet in his 67 to sit a shot clear of Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello and Swede Marcus Kinhult, two ahead of Major Champions Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose and Danny Willett, Belgian Thomas Detry, China's Li Haotong and Austrian Matthias Schwab.

Published on November 22, 2019
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