Dubai Desert Classic: LIV duo Ian Poulter and Richard Bland share lead as Rory McIlroy impresses
The Hero Dubai Desert Classic will finish on Monday due to several weather delays over the first two days; Richard Bland and Ian Poulter both on eight under when play was suspended due to bad light; watch the second round live on Saturday from 3.30am on Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 27/01/23 2:06pm
LIV duo Ian Poulter and Richard Bland hold a share of the lead after day two of the weather-disrupted Hero Dubai Desert Classic, where Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed also impressed.
McIlroy and Reed overcame their pre-tournament war of words to set the initial clubhouse target at six under on Friday, only for Poulter to jump ahead of them with a chip-in birdie on his final hole to close an opening-round 65.
Bland followed a five-under 67 by birdieing the first three holes of his second round to get to eight under when play was suspended at 5.30pm local time (1.30pm GMT) due to fading light, with Poulter birdieing the third hole of his second round to also sit tied at the top.
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Angel Hidalgo is a shot off the pace and one under for his round with 11 holes still to complete, with play resuming at 7.45am on Saturday morning (3.45am GMT) and the tournament being dragged into a Monday finish because of the delays over the first two days.
McIlroy produces amazing finish
McIlroy returned in the morning to play his final three holes in four under par to complete a brilliant opening-round 66 at Emirates Golf Club, where six hours of play was lost on Thursday before Friday's action was delayed due to a flooded course.
The world No 1 birdied the seventh and produced a stunning hole-out eagle from the sand at the par-four next, before a birdie at the last put him on six under alongside Reed and saw them set the initial clubhouse target.
"I fought back after some very sloppy, rusty golf over the first sort of 14 holes," McIlroy admitted. "Today I came out and I don't really know if anything clicked because I don't think I hit enough shots to know. But it was definitely needed."
Reed finished off his final two holes on Friday with a 15-foot eagle on the last, having mixed five birdies with a lone bogey on Thursday, with the American impressed with his performance during his first event of 2023.
"I'm obviously really happy with the way I played," Reed said. "To come out this week and feel like I was able to put everything together, and to have my mind right on game planning and course management, was definitely a plus"
Reed and McIlroy will not start their second rounds until Saturday morning due to the delays caused by the rain, with no player able to complete their second round inside the first two days and half of the 132-man field unable to get beyond 18 holes so far.
The second round will be completed on Saturday, with the third round pushed back a day to start on Sunday and the final round now taking place on Monday.
Watch the Hero Dubai Desert Classic throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues with Featured Groups on Saturday from 3.30am on Sky Sports Golf ahead of full coverage from 7am.
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