UK: 18+ USA: 21+ | Begambleaware.org | T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly
Rory Mcilroy held off long-time rival, Patrick Reed, to earn victory at the Dubai Desert Classic earlier today. The event, which was extended by a day due to storms in the region, was hotly contested over the weekend but the world number one has managed to come out victorious.
Going into the final day of action, Mcilroy had a three-shot lead at the top of the leaderboard but a ropey opening nine on Monday allowed the chasing pack to close in.
At the front of the pack was Patrick Reed, who got into a spat with Mcilroy on the driving range in the days leading up to the tournament. The American was playing in the group directly in front of Mcilroy and he caught fire from the off. He made five birdies and an eagle in the opening 13 holes and lead the field with five holes to play.
In typical Mcilroy fashion, the Northern Irishman responded to losing his lead in sensational fashion. He birdied two of his first four holes on the back nine and was level with Reed going into the final couple of holes.
With the pair neck and neck, spectators and pundits began to get excited about the possibility of a heated playoff between the pair. Their tumultuous relationship reached boiling point earlier in the week when Reed appeared to throw a tee at Mcilroy before labelling him an “immature little child”.
While Mcilroy insists that his negative feeling towards Reed are down to being subpoenaed by the American on Christmas Eve, Reed believes it is solely to do with the fact he has joined the controversial LIV Golf Tour.
No need for a playoff
A playoff certainly would have been interesting, but luckily for Mcilroy and his fans, the world number one managed to get the job done without the need for extra holes. Two birdies on the final two holes were enough for him to finish one shot ahead of Reed on -19 for the week.
AND HE'S DONE IT!!!!
A winning start for Rory McIlroy 🏆 pic.twitter.com/8d2Q3s54K4
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) January 30, 2023
Victory for Mcilroy, who was playing in his first event of the year, also means that he extends the gap at the top of golf’s world rankings. Going into the event, there was a real chance that he could lose that spot to John Rahm, but the Spaniard’s failure to win at the Farmers Insurance Open combined with Mcilroy’s win in Dubai means that the 33-year-old is clear out in front.
It is the third time that Mcilroy has won the event, and has set him up well for what looks to be an incredibly busy year of golf ahead.
One of the toughest rounds he’s ever played
After completing victory in Dubai, Mcilroy was understandably overjoyed with how he had performed. Speaking to reporters he said:
“I think mentally today was probably one of the toughest rounds I’ve ever had to play. It would be really easy to let your emotions get in the way.
I just had to really concentrate on focusing on myself and forget who was there on the leaderboard, and I did that really well. I feel like I showed a lot of mental strength out there today. I’m going to enjoy this.”
Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!