Rory McIlroy hoping to make up for lost time in Dubai

Rory McIlroy hoping to make up for lost time in Dubai

Rory McIlroy hoping to make up for lost time in Dubai

Rory McIlroy continued his strong start to the new golf season with a seven under par first round at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Perhaps the only downside for the four-times major champion is that his seven-under par effort over the Majlis course at the Emirates Club was merely one of nine scores of 65 or better. Donaldson followed that up with a further four birdies and an eagle on the back nine before completing his round with a bogey to finish the day top of the leaderboard.

Horsey finished birdie-birdie to set a blistering pace but has both two-time victor Rory McIlroy (65) and defending champion Sergio Garcia (67) sitting ominously placed on the leaderboard.

McIlroy has a busy schedule ahead of the Masters, and next up is the Dubai Desert Classic.

Beset by injury woes throughout parts of previous year, the mega star endured a stop-start 2017 on the fairways, but returned to action in style, finishing just four shots behind victor Tommy Fleetwood at last week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.

Last week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship victor Tommy Fleetwood kicked off his week with an opening-round 69, with Danny Willett propping up the leaderboard after posting a triple-bogey and quadruple-bogey over the final two holes of his five-over 77. I think I only birdied one of the par 5s on the first day but I knew there's so many chances out here and just tried to keep hitting fairways, hit greens, gave myself chances.

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'I've worked hard since then and obviously any time you shoot 63 it's going to give you plenty of momentum, ' he said.

"I played pretty decent, hitting some nice shots today", he said. Dubai is a place that I've gotten to know very well.

"I don't think you could have got better conditions out there", he told Sky Sports. "I just have to reassess everything and go from there".

Fox, playing with Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and Englishman Matthew Southgate, will tee off from the first hole in his second round at 7.40am (4.40pm NZT).

"I've been working on my game, trying to find the form that I've found in the past. I am really happy with where my body is, where my game is and this is just a progression of what I have seen over the past couple of months". I feel like I've got a bit of a spring back in my step because of what happened last week and I'm very confident in myself.

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