Rory McIlroy was counting the cost of another late period, with the shocking double ghost of the Northern Irishman changing the complexion of the DP World Tour Championship
- Rory McIlroy was apparently sailing toward a second win in consecutive starts.
- But a terrible hole 36 after 35 good ones pushed him from the leader to the fourth tied.
- His close friend Shane Lowry jointly leads the way at 10 under in Dubai.
After 35 holes, when he looked like the Rory McIlroy of yesteryear, he hit a calamitous 36 with the kind of careless mistakes that have haunted him all season.
From seemingly sailing to a second win in consecutive starts for the first time since his winning year of 2014, the Northern Irishman’s shocking double bogey at 18 completely changed the complexion of the DP World Tour Championship.
Fortunately for McIlroy, it came on Friday instead of Sunday afternoon, but it will be fascinating to see what happens on Saturday. A glimpse of your serene progress or one that sees doubts resurface?
Rory McIlroy’s calamitous double bogey on the 18th hole of his second round on Friday saw him fall from leader to tied for fourth at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
McIlroy’s friend, Irishman Shane Lowry (above), now jointly leads the field at 10 under par.
It has certainly given a lot of encouragement to men who thrive with such frailty. How about the last two Open champions to begin with?
Standing on the 18th tee, one shot ahead of his old pal Shane Lowry, he would have bet his bottom dollar on the pair joining for the third round today with Rory probably two shots ahead.
But the four on offer in this classic risk-reward par five turned into a seven when McIlroy followed a mistake with another, driving into a bunker, then hitting the water hazard with his third shot and hitting the subsequent chip.
He turned what would have been an encouraging 67 into a regular 70. McIlroy not only lost the lead, he fell to a tie for fourth and is now just one stroke ahead of Collin Morikawa.
“Hopefully that’s the bad guy out of the way,” McIlroy said. “I’m playing very well and 70 was the worst I could have thrown.”
Collin Morikawa’s second 68 in a row is sure to see him win the Race to Dubai
This was another good day for Morikawa, whose second straight 68 saw him take another sure step toward what is sure to see him become, at the very least, the first American to win the Race to Dubai of the entire season. Of course, you could end up doing it in style if you also win the final event.
Lowry began the week by saying he was looking forward to getting home after a hectic season.
“I’m running with the smell of an oily rag,” commented the Irishman, with a colorful version of the old saying about smoke.
After rounds 69 and 65, and with a first win since his Open win at Portrush in 2019 now in his sights, not to mention the £ 2.5 million first prize, it could be that the oily rag now has the most intoxicating smell . fragrance.
Joining Lowry at the top are American John Catlin and Englishman Sam Horsfield, who has a chance to transform a season currently well short of his big campaign in 2020, when he won twice.