Rory McIlroy (34, Northern Ireland), world number one in men’s golf, is on the verge of winning the DP World Tour (formerly European Tour) Hero Dubai Desert Classic (total prize money of $9 million).
In the 3rd round of the tournament held at the Emirates Golf Club (par 72) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the 29th (Korean time), McIlroy made 8 birdies, committed 1 bogey, and wrote 7 under par 65 strokes.
McIlroy, who recorded a total of 15 under par 201 strokes until the third round, took the lead alone by beating the tied-second group by three strokes.
On this day, McIlroy took the lead early by catching 4 consecutive birdies from holes 1 to 4, and after repeating par marches, he caught another 3 birdies in a row from holes 13 to 15. The accuracy of the short iron shone as all 8 birdies caught up to hole 17 (par 4) were putts that were 2m inside the pin.
“He had a better shot today, so he put the ball in a position where he could birdie aggressively,” McIlroy said. Aiming to win the first tournament in 2023, he said, “I’m almost there,” and said, “I like the fact that I’m playing efficient golf.”
However, it is regrettable that McIlroy, who was leading by 4 strokes, drowned the second wood shot on the 250-yard fairway in the last 18th hole (par 5) and committed a bogey.
McIlroy, who won three wins on the PGA Tour last season and became the FedEx Cup champion, is the world’s No. 1 with 23 victories (four majors) on the PGA Tour. He has 14 wins on the DP World Tour.
He made the same mistake last year that he tied for the lead until the 71st hole of this tournament, but then drowned his shot in the water on the last 18th hole and failed to advance to overtime.
“I love this course and the competition,” said McIlroy. I’ve won here twice, but I don’t think I’ve won the first tournament to start the year,” he said. “I created an opportunity to do something I’ve never done before.”
Callum Sinkwin (England) 메이저사이트 and Dan Bradbury (England) are chasing McIlroy by three strokes with a 12-under 204 stroke for second place.
Patrick Reed (USA), who had an emotional battle with McIlroy over the ‘T-gate’ incident ahead of this tournament, reduced 3 strokes to rank in a tie for 4th place (11 under par, 205 strokes), but was again embroiled in cheating controversy.
Reed hit a tee shot at hole 17 (par 4), which was a dogleg hole that curves to the right, but the ball went off the fairway and got caught in a palm tree on the right. Reid, along with a tour rules official, used binoculars to confirm that his ball was hanging in a tree, and instead of moving to the teeing area and replaying the shot, he dropped it near the tree and continued with his third shot.
As Reed has always been plagued by controversy over rule violations and cheating, social media (SNS) raised questions about whether Reed had properly checked his ball. One golf fan wrote, “There were three trees there and the TV cameras couldn’t show Reed’s ball properly, so how can you be sure Reed is his ball?”
In response to this controversy, Reed said, “If I wasn’t 100% sure it was my ball, he would have gone back to the teeing area. I was lucky to be able to check my ball through binoculars,” he said. “I always mark my golf ball with an arrow at the end of the line. I was able to tell if it was my ball by looking at the arrow, and the tour officials reconfirmed it.”
The DP World Tour side also explained in a statement, “The course competition committee members and various officials directly saw the player’s unique ball mark and confirmed that the ball was embedded in a specific tree.”