Rory McIlroy maintained his two-shot lead in the Dubai Invitational after battling back from a shock quadruple bogey in round two.
McIlroy had looked in imperious form as he carded an opening 62 and extended his overnight advantage to four shots on Friday with birdies on the third and fourth at Dubai Creek.
However, the world number two then found water off the tee on the par-three eighth and, after moving forward to the drop zone, amazingly hit another ball into the hazard from just 130 yards.
Three birdies on the back nine saw McIlroy sign for a 70 and halfway total of 10 under par, two shots ahead of Germany’s Yannik Paul and Denmark’s Jeff Winther, whose 66 was the joint lowest round of the day in testing, windy conditions.
“I think if I look at the other 17 holes that I played, I played very, very well again. Hit some good iron shots,” McIlroy told Sky Sports.
“Played not too dissimilar to the way I played yesterday. I maybe holed a couple more putts yesterday but the conditions were getting a little trickier. Wind was up, greens were firm and a couple miscues on the eighth hole.
“I felt like I did well just to get my head back into it and play some solid golf on the way in, and everyone seemed to find it a little more difficult today than yesterday. So it’s nice to go into the weekend still with the lead.
“I had a chance to bounce back on nine that I missed but [the birdie on] 10 was big. The two shots into 13 were big too to make two relatively easy birdies.
“I gave myself chances most of the back nine, which was nice, and I was able to convert a couple before that tough finishing stretch there on 17 and 18.”
Dubai resident Tommy Fleetwood added a 69 to his opening 66 to share fourth place on seven under par with compatriot Jordan Smith, Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and the South African duo of Thriston Lawrence and Zander Lombard.