Rory McIlroy surges into contention with third-round 63 at Dubai Desert Classic

Home > Tours > DP World Tour > Rory McIlroy surges into contention with third-round 63 at Dubai Desert Classic
The Northern Irishman is looking to eclipse Ernie Els’ record in the desert.
Posted on
January 20, 2024
The Editorial Team in ,
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Defending champion Rory McIlroy carded a stunning 63 to surge into contention on day three of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic but will have to get past American Cameron Young if he is to claim a fourth title at Emirates Golf Club.

The Northern Irishman carded seven birdies and a closing eagle to get to 12 under, having entered the weekend 10 shots off Young’s lead after a slow start in the desert.

He was top of the leaderboard as the world number 25 reached the turn in 37 but Young rallied with three birdies on the back nine to sign for a 71 and open up a two-shot lead at 14 under.

Former Dubai resident McIlroy has an impressive record in the emirate, with his first professional win having come in this event 15 years ago.

He has since added two more to match Ernie Els’ record of Desert Classic wins, while also lifting the trophy twice across the city at the DP World Tour Championship.

“I’ve had so much success in Dubai, whether it be at this tournament or over at Jumeirah Golf Estates and Race to Dubais,” he said.

“It’s been a really, really good place to me. I love coming back here. I really enjoy my time here. It would be amazing if I was able to get another win.

“The first player to get my name on it four times, it would be awesome.”

McIlroy hit a brilliant approach to the first, took advantage of the par-five third and then put iron shots inside 10 feet on the seventh, eighth and ninth to turn in 30.

More birdies on par fives followed on the 10th and 13th before he holed a 45-foot putt from off the green at the last for a closing eagle.

Young started with a birdie but found water on the seventh for a double-bogey and dropped a shot on the next, with gains on the 11th, 13th and 17th taking him back to the summit.

“It would be a nice feeling (to win),” said Young, who has yet to register a win on a top-tier tour.

“It’s one of those times that you feel like kind of at peace with what you’ve done and it’s something I would love to do tomorrow. I’ve put myself in another great place to have a chance and I’m happy with that.”

Pole Adrian Meronk was alongside McIlroy at 12 under after a 70, three shots clear of Dane Rasmus Hojgaard and China’s Li Haotong.

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2MCILROY, Rory-12717063
MERONK, Adrian-12686670
4LI, Haotong-9677169
HØJGAARD, Rasmus-9677070
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FITZPATRICK, Alex-7697070
OLESEN, Thorbjørn-7687071
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DEL REY, Alejandro-6726870
SCOTT, Adam-6697170
SHINKWIN, Callum-6716871
KAWAMURA, Masahiro-6756372
HØJGAARD, Nicolai-6686973
COCKERILL, Aaron-6716772
17MANSELL, Richard-5687073
KJELDSEN, Søren-5687469
19CABRERA BELLO, Rafa-4707270
KIEFFER, Maximilian-4737069
WHITNELL, Dale-4736970
MCKIBBIN, Tom-4727070
FOX, Ryan-4756770
THORBJORNSEN, Michael (AM)-4727070
LARRAZÁBAL, Pablo-4736970
SÖDERBERG, Sebastian-4726971
WIESBERGER, Bernd-4746771
GALLACHER, Stephen-4736673
SULLIVAN, Andy-4676778
30JORDAN, Matthew-3717369
HATTON, Tyrrell-3746871
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SIEM, Marcel-1726776
51VEERMAN, JohannesPar717372
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LUITEN, JoostPar727272
HILL, CalumPar727173
CLEMENTS, ToddPar737073
HELLIGKILDE, MarcusPar727074
BACHEM, NickPar737073
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MIGLIOZZI, GuidoPar736875
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72CAMPILLO, Jorge+3747075
73GOUVEIA, Ricardo+4747076
KO, Jeong weon+4697477
75SCHWAB, Matthias+17273-
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107ZANOTTI, Fabrizio+57574-
KJETTRUP, Frederik (AM)+57376-
109PEPPERELL, Eddie+67773-
FERGUSON, Ewen+67476-
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BRUN, Julien+67971-
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SCALISE, Lorenzo+67674-
116LAW, David+77477-
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LONG, Hurly+77972-
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123GRENVILLE-WOOD, Joshua+97578-
124STRYDOM, Ockie+107579-
125DANTORP, Jens+137978-
126GAVINS, Daniel+188181-
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