Rory McIlroy finishes poorly on opening day of Hero Dubai Desert Classic defence

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The world number two carded a disappointing one-under-par 71.
Posted on
January 18, 2024
by
The Editorial Team in ,
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Rory McIlroy was left to rue a poor finish to his opening round in the defence of his Hero Dubai Desert Classic title.

Seeking a record fourth victory in the event at Emirates Golf Club, McIlroy made an excellent start with four birdies in the first nine holes and bounced back from a bogey on the first – his 10th hole – with a birdie on the second.

However, the world number two then three-putted the sixth, duffed a chip on the seventh to drop another shot and also bogeyed the eighth to card a disappointing one-under-par 71.

That left the four-time major winner four shots off the lead shared by 2018 winner Li Haotong, England’s Andy Sullivan, American Cameron Young and Denmark’s Rasmus Hojgaard.

Li missed the cut or withdrew from his last 16 events in 2023 but finished 14th in last week’s Dubai Invitational and carried on where he left off with seven birdies and two bogeys in his 67.

“I think I played just as solid as last week,” the three-time DP World Tour winner said.

“I’ve been working on a lot of stuff during the wintertime and (am starting to) see some results like this. I can’t believe it’s six years since my win here.

“It’s a lot of great memories and hopefully I can continue to do some magic here.”

Li Haotong
Li Haotong holds a share of the lead in the first round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

Sullivan’s form also came as something of a welcome surprise, the former Ryder Cup player carding a bogey-free 67 on his debut appearance in 2024.

“First event of the year for me so you’re always a bit anxious,” Sullivan said.

“You never know quite how you’ve done in practice. Could be playing brilliantly, and then you never know until you put it into tournament rounds.

“I felt like I grew into the round well. I didn’t feel like I started great, but then sort of got around the turn and felt like I was swinging it a lot better and felt like I could go at a few more flags and the putter got hot. Massively satisfied.”

Young looked unlikely to enjoy a share of the lead when he bogeyed the ninth to reach the turn in one over par, but the world number 25 birdied the 10th, 13th, 16th and 17th before holing from 50 feet for an eagle on the last.

“I played really well,” Young said. “The front-nine scoring was a little bit hard to come by.

“I played better than that so I was really happy with the back nine, happy just that I stayed patient throughout the front nine and kind of let it come to me late. To make those birdies and eagle on the last was tremendous.”

England’s Richard Mansell was part of a seven-strong group on four under par, with former world number one Adam Scott and Dubai Invitational winner Tommy Fleetwood another stroke back.

Pos.PlayerTo ParR1
1LI, Haotong-567
HØJGAARD, Rasmus-567
YOUNG, Cameron-567
SULLIVAN, Andy-567
5GARCIA, Sebastian-468
KJELDSEN, Søren-468
HØJGAARD, Nicolai-468
MERONK, Adrian-468
MANSELL, Richard-468
OLESEN, Thorbjørn-468
DE JAGER, Louis-468
12COUSSAUD, Ugo-369
NEMECZ, Lukas-369
NIEMANN, Joaquin-369
KO, Jeong weon-369
SCOTT, Adam-369
FITZPATRICK, Alex-369
JAMIESON, Scott-369
FORREST, Grant-3-
FLEETWOOD, Tommy-369
RAMSAY, Richie-369
22WINTHER, Jeff-270
CABRERA BELLO, Rafa-270
HUIZING, Daan-270
HANNA, Chase-2-
MORRISON, James-270
27DAFFUE, MJ-171
VEERMAN, Johannes-171
MCILROY, Rory-171
HIDALGO, Angel-171
HARMAN, Brian-171
LANGASQUE, Romain-171
LOMBARD, Zander-171
TARRIO, Santiago-171
COCKERILL, Aaron-171
ELVIRA, Manuel-171
SHINKWIN, Callum-171
DONALD, Luke-171
DU PLESSIS, Hennie-171
JORDAN, Matthew-171
SORDET, Clément-171
42SCHWAB, MatthiasPar72
SHARMA, ShubhankarPar72
SCHNEIDER, MarcelPar72
DONALDSON, JamiePar72
BRADBURY, DanPar72
MOLINARI, FrancescoPar72
MCKIBBIN, TomPar72
TWAY, KevinPar72
HELLIGKILDE, MarcusPar72
DEL REY, AlejandroPar72
LORENZO-VERA, MikePar72
SÖDERBERG, SebastianPar72
LUITEN, JoostPar72
HILL, CalumPar72
SIEM, MarcelPar72
BALDWIN, MatthewPar72
MOLINARI, EdoardoPar72
CROCKER, SeanPar72
JARVIS, CaseyPar72
61KIEFFER, Maximilian+173
MIGLIOZZI, Guido+173
CANTER, Laurie+173
CLEMENTS, Todd+173
WHITNELL, Dale+173
NØRGAARD, Niklas+173
HARRINGTON, Padraig+173
PAVAN, Andrea+1-
KJETTRUP, Frederik (AM)+1-
THORBJORNSEN, Michael (AM)+1-
GALLACHER, Stephen+173
SAMOOJA, Kalle+173
LARRAZÁBAL, Pablo+173
SCHAPER, Jayden+173
BACHEM, Nick+173
76WIEBE, Gunner+274
KIMSEY, Nathan+274
HOSHINO, Rikuya+274
FERGUSON, Ewen+274
LAW, David+274
PAUL, Yannik+274
SMITH, Jordan+274
FORSSTRÖM, Simon+274
SOUTHGATE, Matthew+274
SADDIER, Adrien+274
KINHULT, Marcus+274
GOUVEIA, Ricardo+274
GUERRIER, Julien+2-
CAMPILLO, Jorge+274
WIESBERGER, Bernd+274
WARING, Paul+274
HATTON, Tyrrell+274
FRITTELLI, Dylan+274
SYME, Connor+274
SCRIVENER, Jason+274
96ELVIRA, Nacho+375
GRENVILLE-WOOD, Joshua+375
ROZNER, Antoine+375
WILSON, Oliver+375
KAWAMURA, Masahiro+375
OTAEGUI, Adrian+375
ZANOTTI, Fabrizio+375
VAILLANT, Tom+375
SVENSSON, Jesper+3-
CHAPPELL, Kevin+375
FISHER, Ross+375
FOX, Ryan+375
LAWRENCE, Thriston+375
BLOMME, Adam+375
KOFSTAD, Espen+375
STRYDOM, Ockie+375
112ARMITAGE, Marcus+476
ARNAUS, Adri+4-
MANASSERO, Matteo+476
BJØRN, Thomas+4-
BROWN, Daniel+476
SCALISE, Lorenzo+476
118PEPPERELL, Eddie+577
GREEN, Gavin+577
HILLIER, Daniel+577
PENGE, Marco+577
122WU, Ashun+678
123BRUN, Julien+779
LONG, Hurly+779
DANTORP, Jens+779
126GAVINS, Daniel+981
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The editorial team at Golf Today strives to provide readers with captivating content that celebrates the rich heritage and exciting developments in the world of golf. Their collective expertise and dedication ensure that Golf Today remains a premier destination for golf enthusiasts seeking the latest news, insightful analysis, and engaging stories from the world of golf.

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