McIlroy hits the front with stellar 64

European Tour

Rory McIlroy surged to the top of the leaderboard of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic after a sizzling second round.

The Northern Irishman carded a superb eight under 64 on the desert course, earning him a one shot lead over Scotland’s Marc Warren at the halfway stage of the European Tour event.

McIlroy’s prodigious length proved handy, as he drove the green on the 351 yard par four second and two putted for a birdie. He then got up and down for another in the par five third before rolling in a 300 foot putt on the fifth.

A string of pars took the four time Major winner to the tenth tee, where his booming drive made the par five look tame. On the eleventh, McIlroy’s iron ended up two feet from the pin. He then birdied the last three holes in row, thanks to another tremendous drive that almost rolled on the 359 yard 17th green.

“I couldn’t ask for much more: bogey free, made birdies, and set myself up for a good run over the next couple days,” said the 25-year-old on europeantour.com

“I didn’t play my best but I definitely improved from tee to green out there and was able to make some putts. It was a great round and I’m going to need something similar over the next couple of days to stay in the position that I’m in.

“I’m in a great position, obviously. But there are so many people that are close to the lead and it’s so bunched up there. Even though I’m in the lead, there’s so many people still in with a chance if they shoot a good round tomorrow. I’ve just got to go out there, stay aggressive, stick to the game plan and try to make as many birdies as I can.”

The round puts him on 14 under for the tournament. Tied for third position on 12 under are Graeme McDowell and England’s Seve Benson, who carded 65 and 66 respectively.

Meanwhile, defending champion Steven Gallacher sits on 11 under along with former world number one Lee Westwood.

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