July 23, 2024

Rory McIlroy opted to begin his season with the DP World Tour’s Dubai Invitational, and his opening 18 holes did not disappoint with the Northern Irishman leading the way on day one

Rory McIlroy has started his 2024 season in emphatic fashion, carding an opening round nine-under-par 62 to take an early two-shot lead at the Dubai Invitational.

McIlroy’s opening round in the desert was faultless, with the Northern Irishman going bogey-less whilst carding nine birdies and nine pars at Dubai Creek Resort. The Northern Irishman’s hot start has undoubtedly drawn attention and served as a warning to his PGA Tour rivals, even though he chose to start his season on the DP World Tour.

Although McIlroy’s near-perfect start may have surprised the four-time major champion, who acknowledged some rust in his first two days of preparation, it is still a cause for concern for those who compete against him.

“Yeah, that surprised me,” McIlroy remarked after the round. “The first few days I was here hitting balls and playing the course, it didn’t feel quite as good as that. However, it felt good to hold a card in my hands once more and to feel a little competitive energy.

It was an extremely cozy group. Playing with Ryan and our two amateurs is something I truly enjoy doing. Thus, the golf round and pairing were extremely comfortable. Yes, I was a little taken aback, but hopefully the next few days will bring more of the same.”

The Northern Irishman has started his seasons on the DP World Tour before, having done so for the previous three years when the circuit was in the Middle East. However, McIlroy has a new challenge this week as he competes in the inaugural Dubai Invitational.

The four-time major champion seemed to adjust to the new location with ease, although he acknowledged that the Creek setup’s wind and water make the course somewhat “tricky.” He continued, “I think it can get a little bit tricky when the wind starts coming off the water when the wind gets up.”

“There wasn’t much wind for the first 12 or 13 holes that we played, and then it did. I believe you have to miss it in the appropriate places around the creek. A little water is present here and there. I believe I performed well today in controlling my misses and right-side misses, and I was able to capitalize on my hits when I did make a hit shot.”

McIlroy missed the PGA Tour’s opening round at The Sentry last week due to his decision to start his campaign in Dubai. Out of the sixty players who met the requirements for the “signature event,” the Northern Irishman was the only well-known player to decline the invitation to play in Hawaii.

Following his performance at the Creek Resort, McIlroy will stay in the Middle East to defend his title at Emirates Golf Club’s Dubai Desert Classic the following week. After that, he’ll take a week off before playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which is his first PGA Tour event of the year.

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