Magnificent McIlroy burns it up on day one in Dubai

Magnificent McIlroy burns it up on day one in Dubai

Rory McIlroy believes he is ahead of schedule in his bid to compete again with golf's elite after starting the Dubai Desert Classic with a blemish-free 65.

Defending champion Sergio Garcia was one of a group of players two shots further back on five under.

The OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic, a part of the European Tour, is considered the top professional golfing tournament in the Middle East and in recent years has risen to become a widely recognised and reputed tournament on the world circuit.

The 21-year-old Zimbabwean, based in the United States and mentored by the legendary three-time major victor, Nick Price, received a special invite for the European Tour event after a successful outing at the Singapore Open last week.

The 28-year-old first competitive event since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last October was the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, where he finished an impressive tied for third.

"I feel like I left a few out there but at the end of the day, 65, you're not going to complain about that".

"I am still following the doctor's advice, but he has said it could take two or three visits".

"Yeah, definitely, picking up, especially on a benign day where you sort of needed to go quite low, it was nice to get off to a good start that way and sort of put yourself right in contention in the tournament straightaway", McIlory said on Thursday.

"Apart from that though, I played some nice golf out there. If anything, I could have maybe driven it a little straighter on last day and given myself some more shots from the fairways to attack some pins", he said. "In fact, they were poor last week (in Abu Dhabi)".

McIlroy said the conditions were benign and he was glad to make the most of it. I know that my game is in good enough shape to contend and try to win.

"That's honestly one of my goals this year".

"I saw him a little bit at my Match Play event past year - that was the first time I started to pick his brains a bit", he said.

But it was a completely different story after the turn as the South African went on a birdie blitz and ticked 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Right now it's just about getting myself in a nice bit of form and playing tournaments and playing well.

"I don't think you could have got better conditions out there", he told Sky Sports.

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