McIlroy, Donald join three-way tie for Dubai lead
DUBAI (AFP) –
The world’s top two ranked players Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald were involved in a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the $8million DP World Tour Championship on Friday.
At the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates, world number one McIlroy and number-two ranked Donald were joined at 11-under par 133 by Scotland’s world No189 Marc Warren.
McIlroy (67) was unable to take sole possession of the lead when he failed to make a birdie on the final hole, which was played from the forward tee and reachable in two, while Donald (68) joined him and Warren (67) on top with a textbook birdie on the par-5 hole.
The leading trio were one shot ahead of South African duo of world number six Louis Oosthuizen (67) and Branden Grace (65).
Another South African, 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (67) and Scotsman Richie Ramsay (68) were tied sixth at nine-under par 135.
McIlroy, who complained of having a massive headache last night, said he felt all right on the golf course as he mixed six birdies with a solitary bogey on the fourth hole.
“I didn’t feel great last night, but I felt much better this morning and felt nearly 100 percent on the golf course,” said the 23-year-old.
“I guess it’s just us Irish and the skin just not used to this sort of sun. That’s my excuse anyway.
“I played well. I continued to drive the ball really well and gave myself plenty of opportunities. It was a solid round and obviously, puts me in a good position going into the weekend.
“I am as motivated as I have been the whole year and I am not going to let it drop just for this week.”
Donald was a picture of consistency, making two birdies on either half of the course in his bogey-free round of 68.
“I haven’t dropped a shot in 36 holes, so that feels really good. But it wasn’t quite as good on the greens today…I had some opportunities on a few holes that I just misread,” said the Englishman.
Warren was delighted to be in such distinguished company after his round of 67, which included six birdies and a bogey.
“It was nice to be the Scot in that pack with the Englishman and the Northern Irishman,” said Warren, who is ranked 55th in the Race to Dubai.
“It’s great to be in contention with guys like that. I just looked at the leaderboard and kind of enjoyed it really. At the same time, I am just trying to stay patient and keep doing what I am doing. I am really looking forward to the weekend.”
The round of the day, however, belonged to Sergio Garcia.
The Spaniard matched the course record of eight-under par 64, but that included a triple bogey, two bogeys, two eagles and nine birdies. He did not make a single par on the back nine.
After making his triple on the 16th hole, where he dumped his eight-iron second shot from the middle of the fairway into the water, the world No22, who is making a comeback after a seven-week layoff because of an eye surgery, birdied the 17th and eagled the last to climb up to seven-under par for the tournament.
The $8 million tournament is the season-ending championship on the European Tour and only the top-60 players in the Money List qualify for it.