Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed set up potential showdown in Dubai

Home > News > Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed set up potential showdown in Dubai
McIlroy and Reed found themselves a shot behind world number one amateur Ludvig Aberg and Ian Poulter.
Posted on
January 27, 2023
The Editorial Team in
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Brilliant finishes from Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed raised the tantalising prospect of a showdown between the pair as the Hero Dubai Desert Classic headed for a Monday finish.

Following a second delay of the week due to flooding at Emirates Golf Club, McIlroy returned to the course on Friday facing a short birdie putt on the par-three seventh, his 16th hole.

The world number one calmly converted from four feet, then holed out from a fairway bunker on the eighth for an unlikely eagle and rounded off his morning’s work in style with another birdie on the difficult ninth.

That gave the two-time winner a six-under-par 66 which was matched by Reed, the former Masters champion finishing on the other side of the course by holing from 15 feet for eagle on the par-five 18th.

By the time the first round was belatedly concluded, McIlroy and Reed found themselves a shot behind world number one amateur Ludvig Aberg and Ian Poulter, who both shot 65 and enjoyed a brief break before starting round two.

Poulter covered his first three holes in one under par to share the lead with fellow LIV player Richard Bland on eight under, Bland starting with three straight birdies before play was suspended due to the fading light.

Tournament officials then announced that the second round would be completed on Saturday, with the third round taking place on Sunday and the fourth on Monday.

“Honestly not very good,” McIlroy said when asked to assess his overall performance. “I struggled out there most of yesterday.

“I thought did I well to be under par by the end of the day. I fought back after some very sloppy, rusty golf over the first sort of 14 holes.

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

“And then today I came out and I don’t really know if anything clicked because I don’t think I hit enough shots to know. But it was definitely needed.

“I would have been happy with anything around 70 the way I played, and then to come in and shoot 66 is quite the bonus.”

As for the eagle on the eighth, McIlroy added: “I wouldn’t say I’m the best fairway bunker player in the world. The desert is a little nicer, it’s a little more packed down, so you get some better lies.

“All I was thinking about was catching it clean. As soon as I struck it, I knew it came out really nicely and it was right down the pin. Again, anything inside of 20 feet, I would have been happy with, so that was certainly a bonus.”

Reed had completed 16 holes of his first round in four under on Thursday and resumed on Friday with a par on the short par-four 17th before a closing eagle.

“I’m obviously really happy with the way I played,” Reed said. “I felt like last week wasn’t really a reflection of all the hard work I’ve been doing in the off-season. It was more getting rusty on playing tournament golf.

Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed carded an opening 66 in the first round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

“So to come out this week and feel like I was able to put everything together and to have my mind right on game planning and course management was definitely a plus.

The pre-tournament build-up had been dominated by the war of words between Reed and McIlroy, which emerged after Reed threw a tee towards McIlroy after being snubbed by the world number one on the practice range.

McIlroy said he had not seen the tee but had not been impressed at being subpoenaed on Christmas Eve by the lawyer who is representing Reed in a defamation lawsuit against several media members and organisations.

McIlroy’s subpoena is related to a separate civil lawsuit filed in June by Larry Klayman, which claims that Florida residents who bought tickets to PGA Tour events, or would in future, were damaged by the PGA Tour allegedly weakening fields by suspending players who joined LIV.

Reed, who joined LIV during its inaugural event in June, told reporters the subpoena – which Klayman has also attempted to serve on Tiger Woods – has “nothing to do with me and nothing to do with any of the lawsuits that I’m a part of” and labelled McIlroy “an immature little child”.

Pos.PlayerTodayThruTo ParR1
1BLAND, Richard-34-867
POULTER, Ian-13-865
3HIDALGO, Angel-17-766
4DE JAGER, LouisPar2-666
MCILROY, Rory-11:20-666
REED, Patrick-11:20-666
7BRUN, Julien-37-570
ABERG, Ludvig (AM)27-565
HERBERT, Lucas-23-569
PEREZ, Victor-11:30-567
7PIETERS, Thomas-11:30-567
ARNAUS, Adri-12:00-567
13OTAEGUI, Adrian-15-469
OLESEN, Thorbjørn-23-470
WILSON, Oliver-11:00-468
JORDAN, Matthew-11:00-468
GAVINS, Daniel-11:00-468
FLEETWOOD, Tommy-11:20-468
WALLACE, Matt-11:50-468
SYME, Connor-12:00-468
WANG, Jeunghun-12:30-468
22HELLIGKILDE, Marcus-17-370
DU PLESSIS, Hennie16-368
HATTON, Tyrrell-35-372
LOWRY, Shane-15-370
HORSFIELD, Sam-15-370
FERGUSON, Ewen-24-371
BJÖRK, AlexanderPar1-369
WIESBERGER, Bernd-11:10-369
FOX, Ryan-11:20-369
LANGASQUE, Romain-11:30-369
GUERRIER, Julien-12:00-369
MANSELL, Richard-12:10-369
ARMITAGE, Marcus-12:10-369
ZANOTTI, Fabrizio-12:20-369
DANTORP, Jens-12:30-369
HUIZING, Daan-17:00-369
NØRGAARD, Niklas-17:10-369
KRUYSWIJK, Jacques-17:20-369
40HANNA, ChasePar7-270
STRYDOM, Ockie-27-272
DONALD, LukePar6-270
CROCKER, Sean14-269
STENSON, HenrikPar4-270
LEVY, AlexanderPar4-270
HØJGAARD, Rasmus-13-271
LAWRENCE, ThristonPar3-270
HILL, CalumPar2-270
BJØRN, Thomas-11:00-270
HUNDEBØLL, Oliver-11:00-270
MACINTYRE, Robert-11:10-270
HARDING, Justin-11:10-270
HØJGAARD, Nicolai-11:40-270
THORBJORNSEN, Michael (AM)-12:10-270
SULLIVAN, Andy-12:20-270
LUITEN, Joost-17:00-270
KINHULT, Marcus-17:10-270
PULKKANEN, Tapio-17:20-270
59SCHNEIDER, MarcelPar7-171
BEKKER, Oliver36-168
CAMPILLO, Jorge16-170
WU, AshunPar5-171
JOHNSTON, Andrew-14-172
BRADBURY, Dan-23-173
FORREST, GrantPar3-171
SCRIVENER, JasonPar2-171
VON DELLINGSHAUSEN, Nicolai-10:50-171
SOUTHGATE, Matthew-10:50-171
ROZNER, Antoine-11:10-171
SHINKWIN, Callum-11:30-171
WHITNELL, Dale-11:30-171
NORRIS, Shaun-11:40-171
WESTWOOD, Lee-11:40-171
COLSAERTS, Nicolas-11:50-171
WARING, Paul-12:10-171
LAW, David-12:20-171
VEERMAN, Johannes-17:20-171
HILLIER, Daniel-17:20-171
79FISHER, RossPar7Par72
MOLINARI, FrancescoPar5Par72
MERONK, Adrian-24Par74
VAN DRIEL, DariusPar1Par72
KAWAMURA, Masahiro-11:10Par72
JAMIESON, Scott-11:20Par72
KORHONEN, Mikko-11:50Par72
CATLIN, John-11:50Par72
DONALDSON, Jamie-12:20Par72
ELVIRA, Nacho-12:30Par72
SENIOR, Jack-12:30Par72
MORRISON, James-17:10Par72
WALTERS, Justin-17:10Par72
93WARREN, Marc-17+174
LOMBARD, ZanderPar6+173
SMITH, Jordan-33+176
SHARMA, Shubhankar-13+174
KIEFFER, MaximilianPar1+173
NEMECZ, Lukas-10:50+173
JIMÉNEZ, Miguel Ángel-11:10+173
LEE, Min Woo-11:30+173
LARRAZÁBAL, Pablo-11:50+173
MIGLIOZZI, Guido-12:00+173
COCKERILL, Aaron-12:00+173
KIMSEY, Nathan-12:30+173
LINDBERG, Mikael-17:20+173
106SAMOOJA, Kalle15+273
STRAKA, Sepp14+273
MCKIBBIN, Tom-10:50+274
BESSELING, Wil-11:00+274
GREEN, Gavin-11:20+274
ANCER, Abraham-11:50+274
PAUL, Yannik-12:10+274
DUBUISSON, Victor-12:30+274
114MOLINARI, Edoardo16+374
SÖDERBERG, Sebastian-16+376
WINTHER, Jeff15+374
KOFSTAD, EspenPar3+375
COETZEE, GeorgePar1+375
PEPPERELL, Eddie-11:40+375
GALLACHER, Stephen-12:00+375
KNAPPE, Alexander-12:20+375
ABOU EL ELA, Issa (AM)-17:10+375
TARRIO, Santiago-17:10+375
124LONG, Hurly-11:40+476
VÄLIMÄKI, Sami-12:10+476
LAGERGREN, Joakim-12:20+476
127PAVON, Matthieu47+573
FREIBURGHAUS, Jeremy-10:50+577
KJELDSEN, Søren-17:00+577
130CABRERA BELLO, Rafa13+677
RITCHIE, JC-17:20+678
132HARRINGTON, Padraig-11:40+981
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