McIlroy gets off his sunbed to shoot a 68

Joy Chakravarty 00:30 19/11/2016
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Brightening up: Rory McIlroy.

Rory McIlroy’s first round at the DP World Tour Championship was what the statisticians call an outlier – a freak reading that is miles away from other observations.

That 75 was his first-ever over-par effort in 29 rounds, starting from the opening day of the inaugural event in 2009. But yesterday, it was business as usual as the world No2 returned to his sub-par ways at the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

The Northern Irishman shot a four-under par 68, completing his round nearly an hour before the leaders teed off and moving to one-under par for the tournament at the halfway stage.

After a round of six birdies and two bogeys, the reigning FedEx Cup champion said: “I held a few more putts today. Mentally on Friday, I was still on holiday I think. I just wasn’t really with it. Wasn’t at the races. I felt a bit better out there on Saturday.

“I think I was still on the beach after two weeks off. I wasn’t switched on. It was just a bad day.”

McIlroy, who needs to win the tournament to have any chance of winning a third Race to Dubai honour, did not rule himself out just yet.

“I’m five behind the lead right now, but you know, depending on what Lee (Westwood) and some of the guys that played well yesterday do – I am hoping for a bit of wind this afternoon and some difficult conditions – if one of the guys doesn’t get past 10-under this afternoon, then I feel like I still have a bit of a chance going into the weekend,” said McIlroy moments after finishing his round.

“Even if I’m eight or nine shots back heading into the weekend, I still feel I’ll have a decent chance. If I keep improving I might not be far away.”

On Saturday, McIlroy will tee off at 10:15 along with Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren.

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