Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Rory McIlroy made a stunning start to take a two-shot lead as the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai got underway at the Jumeirah Golf Estates on Thursday.
The Race to Dubai’s top-50 players took to the Earth Course for the final Rolex Series event of the season where they will compete for a share of the USD $9million prize pot and the chance to be crowned European Number One.
Among those to impress was McIlroy, who has previously won this event twice before. The Northern Irishman struck an eagle on the second and made four of his six birdies in the first nine on route to 65. He closed with a birdie on the 18th with his only blemish being a bogey on the 9th.
Denmark’s Joachim Hansen, who came into the tournament on the back of last week’s Aviv Dubai Championship victory, continued his impressive form with six birdies to card 67. He is tied second alongside Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen, who eagled his final hole and South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
Race to Dubai leader Collin Morikawa, who can make history by becoming the first American to win the title, is tied fifth after carding 68. His round included six birdies and two bogeys.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer, also sitting two shots back, had a mixed day, making eight birdies and four bogies.
After his round, McIlroy said his familiarity with the Earth Course was an advantage. He said: “I got a lot of experience around this place and a lot of great memories and memories of great shots and putts. If you can carry the ball over 300 on this course it makes it a lot easier and get it over the fairway bunkers and the landing areas have become that much wider. It’s an advantage and have been able to use this advantage for the last few years.”
As well as watching the stars in action, there will be plenty of entertainment off the course at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.