Rory grabs lead, one clear of field. Eight birdies and no bogeys, and yet somehow it was mildly frustrating to watch. It must have been because of the makeable putts that refused to fall. But you can’t make them all, and the one on No. 18 was hardly a gimme. That eight birdies and no bogeys can cause someone to ever utter the word “frustrating” shows just how under control Rory has his game. Still a long way to go, of course.
OWGR #6 Sergio missed the cut. OWGR #2 Stenson is in the hunt.
Thanks to Golf Channel for showing Rory’s full round. Coverage begins at 3:00am tomorrow. Rory will be in last group, so will tee off around 12:45pm Dubai time. That’s 3:45am EST. [Rory actually going off at 12:00pm.]
Below are the hourly entries I made during today’s action:
Notable movers from the morning wave were Graeme McDowell, who currently sits one off the lead of Marc Warren. Peter Uihlein dropped a shot on his final hole, but still shot -3 to sit at T-6, currently three off the lead. Grillo is one shot back of that at T-8. Henrik Stenson had a good round to keep himself in the hunt; maybe his game is coming around after missing the cut at Abu Dhabi two weeks ago; he closed with a 66 last week, climbing up to a T-13 finish, so he’s trending up.
Almost every player is dressed in pink today for Pink Friday. Kind of odd to see so many players dress so similarly.
Charlie Hull joined the team in the booth for that last 15 minutes of the first hour. She’s very personable, and I love her accent. She was in Dubai working on her game prior to starting her season. When asked about Rory’s swing, she said she is a feel player and therefore doesn’t much get into the technical aspects of a swing, but praised his balance while swinging with such power.
I can’t tell you how much I prefer the European Tour Productions broadcast to any of the American offerings. I noticed this morning how nice it is to hear the ambient noise of the golf course: birds, wind (or was it the hum of highway traffic), casual discussion between players and caddies, even a call to prayer off in the distance. The announcers talk quietly and sparingly. It’s a real pleasure.
Rory making a good, steady climb. -3 through 7 holes, four shots back of the leader. Had a 15 foot or so putt for eagle on a drivable par-4; he two-putted for birdie. Got another birdie on a par-5.
Rory continues to play “boring” golf, with birdie tries at nearly every hole, making his fair share. Sits two out of the lead with seven holes left to play. Can he catch Warren before reaching the clubhouse?
Lee Westwood is in the hunt. Nice to see his game in good order.
Rory playing no-drama golf, but the birdie putts are not falling. Stuck on -11, two back.