Impressive McIlroy hits his stride

27 January 2018 05:45:09 EST

Rory McIlroy hopes he can maintain his form in the last two rounds of the Dubai Desert Classic after opening up a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the tournament.

The Ulsterman birdied the final three holes to finish the second round at Emirates Golf Club two strokes ahead of Jamie Donaldson, who shot a 69 on the back of his opening-round 62.

Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els, Paul Lawrie, Danny Willett, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke all missed the cut to leave McIlroy at 11/4 to win the Dubai Desert Classic outright and Donaldson at 2000/1.

McIlroy, who finished joint third in Abu Dhabi last week, carded a second-round 64 on the back of his opening 65.

The 28-year-old said afterwards: "That was pretty nice.

"I knew with the conditions this morning there were chances out there, obviously with the two par-fives and 17. To take care of those and to birdie a couple of others, to finish five-under for my last seven was a nice way to finish this morning.

"I didn't really have a score in mind or anything. I just wanted to go out there and play a good seven holes and hopefully get myself into contention for the last couple of rounds.

"I sort of did that and maybe a little bit more and it's nice to go into the weekend in the lead."

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