Rory McIlroy surges into Dubai lead

Briton Jamie Donaldson fired an impressive 62 to lead on day one of the Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday, with English duo David Horsey and Anthony Wall trailing one stroke behind.

In the 108 holes McIlroy has now played since his return to the game following a four month sabbatical, he is a phenomenal 33 under par, having had just four bogeys.

So too, no doubt, will Frenchman Alexander Levy and South African Haydn Porteous.

"Probably got a bit of a break between now and going back out there so I'll probably get a little bit of physio treatment, make sure everything's okay and hit some balls and practise".

But it was McIlroy at his best as he eagled the 10th after two majestic blows, with three birdies in the final six holes also contributing to a pleasing day at the coalface. Last week he shot 18 under par for four rounds and finished tied third in Abu Dhabi. "So hopefully I have a bit of a better game tomorrow".

Last week's champion in Abu Dhabi and reigning European number one Tommy Fleetwood made 69 while world No10 Henrik Stenson submitted a card of 70 after a late double bogey.

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McIlroy's last win was in August 2016 at the Tour Championship, and he was impressed by Li.

Donaldson, who last won on the tour at the 2014 Czech Masters, said the thought of becoming the first player to shoot a 59 crossed his mind. I showed that even when I didn't have my best stuff today I was able to battle around and get in at a decent score.

"It's two weeks into the season and I've got my second chance to win a tournament, so I can't complain", he added.

The low round of the day was a 9-under 63 by Andy Sullivan of England, who moved to fifth on the leaderboard at 16 under. "So just stayed patient all day".

"Played really solid. Especially had a couple up-and-downs and was quite happy to shoot eight-under on this course", said Li, who will become the first male Chinese player to crack the top 50 in the world rankings if he goes on to win.

"I'm looking forward to it".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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