• Lorenzo-Vera leads, Rory rockets

    Rory McIlroy
    Rory is right in there

    Profilic perfomer at the Jumeirah Golf Estates, Rory McIlroy, eagled the 18th hole to sit one shot behind Mike Lorenzo-Vera on Thursday at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

    The Frenchman overcame illness before teeing off to shoot the lowest opening round in tournament history as he watched the world No 2 reduce the gap at the season-ending tournament.

    Mike Lorenzo-Vera

    Lorenzo-Vera felt no ill-effects on his golf at least after a closing 80 at last week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge as he battled a lung infection during round one.

    McIlroy had five birdies and three lip-outs on the front nine as he looked to be at his brilliant best and he hit an incredible second to three feet for a closing eagle in his lowest round at this event – the eighth Rolex event of the season.

    Of his second into the final hole, he said: ‘Possibly the best shot I’ve hit all year.’

    Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger held on to his advantage despite hitting just six fairways all day. He closed with a birdie at the last for scrambling 70.

    His biggest threat, Jon Rahm, could only par the last after surviving a scrappy driver and errant third into the par five. His bogey 66 leaves him third alone with last week’s winner, Tommy Fleetwood, also in the mix after a 67 that left in fourth alongside countryman Tom Lewis.

    The South African contingent enjoyed a mixed bag and this was no more evident than in Louis Oosthuizen’s round. He made the turn three over after a bogey five at the 5th and a double at the 8th, but turned on the style as he roared home in 31 which was in large parts thanks to his four birdies in a row from the 14th before settling for a par to close.

    One back of SA’s No 1 is Richard Sterne, who undid his day’s work with a double at the par-three 17th. Erik van Rooyen, who may or may not have been denied an ace on the 17th (and a new BMW i8 Roadster) finished alongside Sterne and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

    Justin Harding was -2 through 7 but finished with a 73 to sit in 33rd place.

    Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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