Cameron Young leads the way at Dubai Desert Classic as Rory McIlroy falls back

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McIlroy was 10 strokes off the lead at the halfway stage.
Posted on
January 19, 2024
The Editorial Team in ,
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

American Cameron Young held a three-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic as defending champion Rory McIlroy remained well off the pace.

Young added a second round of 64 to his opening 67 at Emirates Golf Club to reach 13 under par, with England’s Andy Sullivan and Poland’s Adrian Meronk his nearest challengers on 10 under.

Seeking a record fourth win in the event, McIlroy recorded five birdies and three bogeys in a round of 70 which left him 10 strokes off the lead.

Young, who has yet to win on the PGA Tour or DP World Tour, carded nine birdies and a solitary bogey on the ninth, his final hole of the day, after finding the water left of the green with his approach.

“I putted fantastic,” the world number 25 said. “I made a couple of long ones yesterday and then made a few more today that had no right going in I feel like.

“I hit a bunch of good putts, but just one of those days where you kind of have a couple of 30-footers and you look up and they are going right in the middle, which doesn’t happen all that often to have a bunch of them in one round.

“I’m doing a really good job of staying out of my own way. Kind of realised it was going well early, but the back nine, at the same time, it feels like you should do that to some extent, especially in the morning with not much wind.”

Meronk, who won three times on the DP World Tour last year and was voted player of the year by his peers, added a flawless 66 to his opening 68, while Sullivan returned a second successive 67.

“The experience [of winning] gives you a little more confidence that you’ve done it before, so you can do it again,” Meronk said.

Adrian Meronk
Adrian Meronk follows his ball on the 13th hole during the second round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

“The key is just to stick to your plan for your game, trust your shots, full commitment. Don’t get too ahead of yourself.

“It’s easy to say, but I think you have to experience it first and then it gets easier, but it’s never easy. But at least I have some experience under my belt.”

McIlroy looked set to climb up the leaderboard after he birdied the second and seventh, but he bogeyed the eighth after a sliced drive plugged in the desert and also dropped a shot on the ninth following another wayward tee shot.

The world number two also followed a birdie on the 10th with a bogey on the next and took an angry swipe at the rough following a fluffed pitch on the 17th, but at least ended the day on a high with a birdie from 20 feet on the 18th.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy plays his second shot on the 13th hole during the second round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura threatened to card just the second 59 in DP World Tour history when he covered his first 12 holes in 10 under par thanks to an eagle and eight birdies, but bogeyed his penultimate hole and had to settle for a 63.

Nevertheless, that was a 12-shot improvement on his opening round and lifted Kawamura into a tie for seventh on six under par.

Dubai Invitational winner Tommy Fleetwood celebrated his 33rd birthday with a 70 to finish five under.

Pos.PlayerTo ParR1R2
1YOUNG, Cameron-136764
2SULLIVAN, Andy-106767
MERONK, Adrian-106866
4RAMSAY, Richie-76968
HØJGAARD, Nicolai-76869
HØJGAARD, Rasmus-76770
7DE JAGER, Louis-66870
COCKERILL, Aaron-67167
LORENZO-VERA, Mike-67266
OLESEN, Thorbjørn-66870
LOMBARD, Zander-67167
KAWAMURA, Masahiro-67563
LI, Haotong-66771
MANSELL, Richard-66870
15SHINKWIN, Callum-57168
DU PLESSIS, Hennie-57168
FLEETWOOD, Tommy-56970
SIEM, Marcel-57267
GALLACHER, Stephen-57366
21DEL REY, Alejandro-47268
ELVIRA, Manuel-47169
SCOTT, Adam-46971
24WIESBERGER, Bernd-37467
WARING, Paul-37467
SÖDERBERG, Sebastian-37269
FORREST, Grant-37071
GUERRIER, Julien-37368
TARRIO, Santiago-37170
JAMIESON, Scott-36972
SMITH, Jordan-37467
LANGASQUE, Romain-37170
MCILROY, Rory-37170
NIEMANN, Joaquin-36972
NEMECZ, Lukas-36972
MIGLIOZZI, Guido-37368
37LARRAZÁBAL, Pablo-27369
MORRISON, James-27072
DONALD, Luke-27171
FOX, Ryan-27567
HATTON, Tyrrell-27468
THORBJORNSEN, Michael (AM)-27270
MCKIBBIN, Tom-27270
HELLIGKILDE, Marcus-27270
WHITNELL, Dale-27369
NØRGAARD, Niklas-27369
HARMAN, Brian-27171
DAFFUE, MJ-27171
KJELDSEN, Søren-26874
COUSSAUD, Ugo-26973
52SYME, Connor-17469
HILL, Calum-17271
BACHEM, Nick-17370
CLEMENTS, Todd-17370
HUIZING, Daan-17073
KIMSEY, Nathan-17469
KO, Jeong weon-16974
GARCIA, Sebastian-16875
SHARMA, Shubhankar-17271
KIEFFER, Maximilian-17370
62JARVIS, CaseyPar7272
SCHAPER, JaydenPar7371
JORDAN, MatthewPar7173
CAMPILLO, JorgePar7470
FRITTELLI, DylanPar7470
SVENSSON, JesperPar7668
LUITEN, JoostPar7272
OTAEGUI, AdrianPar7569
GOUVEIA, RicardoPar7470
VEERMAN, JohannesPar7173
ROZNER, AntoinePar7569
WINTHER, JeffPar7074
ELVIRA, NachoPar7569
75SCHWAB, Matthias+17273
HOSHINO, Rikuya+17471
HIDALGO, Angel+17174
PAUL, Yannik+17471
MOLINARI, Francesco+17273
HANNA, Chase+17075
PAVAN, Andrea+17471
LAWRENCE, Thriston+17570
BALDWIN, Matthew+17273
SORDET, Clément+17174
PENGE, Marco+17768
86CANTER, Laurie+27373
WILSON, Oliver+27571
KINHULT, Marcus+27472
TWAY, Kevin+27274
SAMOOJA, Kalle+27373
MOLINARI, Edoardo+27274
HILLIER, Daniel+27769
SCRIVENER, Jason+27472
KOFSTAD, Espen+27571
95WIEBE, Gunner+37473
SCHNEIDER, Marcel+37275
FORSSTRÖM, Simon+37473
SOUTHGATE, Matthew+37473
CROCKER, Sean+37275
100BRADBURY, Dan+47276
SADDIER, Adrien+47474
VAILLANT, Tom+47573
ARNAUS, Adri+47573
CHAPPELL, Kevin+47573
MANASSERO, Matteo+47672
BJØRN, Thomas+47672
107ZANOTTI, Fabrizio+57574
KJETTRUP, Frederik (AM)+57376
109PEPPERELL, Eddie+67773
FERGUSON, Ewen+67476
GREEN, Gavin+67773
DONALDSON, Jamie+67278
BRUN, Julien+67971
FISHER, Ross+67575
SCALISE, Lorenzo+67674
116LAW, David+77477
ARMITAGE, Marcus+77675
LONG, Hurly+77972
BLOMME, Adam+77576
120HARRINGTON, Padraig+87379
BROWN, Daniel+87676
WU, Ashun+87874
123GRENVILLE-WOOD, Joshua+97578
124STRYDOM, Ockie+107579
125DANTORP, Jens+137978
126GAVINS, Daniel+188181
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