Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy make impressive start after floods cause delay at Dubai Desert Classic
Play was delayed on Thursday morning after heavy overnight rain meant the course was unplayable. Patrick Reed is four under par and a shot behind leader Thomas Pieters with three holes left to play; watch the Dubai Desert Classic live on Sky Sports on Friday
By Amar Mehta
Last Updated: 26/01/23 3:39pm
Patrick Reed put aside his row with Rory McIlroy and a six-hour weather delay to make an impressive start to the Dubai Desert Classic.
Players were told on Thursday morning that the Emirates Golf Club was "inaccessible" and told not to travel to the course due to flooding on the roads due to heavy rainfall.
After a few hours of dry weather and a massive clean-up operation by ground staff, play got underway at 9.15am (GMT) but half the field was unable to get on the course at all and will start round one on Friday.
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Reed got through 16 holes in four under par to lie a shot behind early leader Belgium's Thomas Pieters, who has three holes remaining.
English trio Matthew Jordan, Daniel Gavins and Oliver Wilson had set the clubhouse target following rounds of 68 completed shortly before play was stopped due to darkness.
Tommy Fleetwood was four under and facing a 15ft birdie putt on the par-three seventh, his 16th hole, when play resumes. His playing partner Mcllroy has a four-foot putt to improve on his three under.
McIlroy and Reed dominated the pre-tournament build-up, after the American appeared to throw a tee toward McIlroy after being snubbed by the world No 1 on the practice range.
McIlroy said he had not seen the tee but was not impressed at being subpoenaed on Christmas Eve by Reed's lawyers as part of his defamation lawsuit against several members of the media.
McIlroy's subpoena is related to a separate civil lawsuit filed in June by Larry Klayman, which claims that Florida residents who bought tickets to PGA Tour events, or would in future, were damaged by the PGA Tour allegedly weakening fields by suspending players who joined LIV.
Reed, who joined LIV during its inaugural event in June, told reporters the subpoena - which Klayman has also attempted to serve on Tiger Woods - has "nothing to do with me and nothing to do with any of the lawsuits that I'm a part of" and labelled McIlroy "an immature little child".
Joint clubhouse leader Jordan carded five birdies and a single bogey in his 68, while playing partner Gavins looked set to finish a shot ahead before dropping a shot on the 18th as the light faded.
"If you shoot a good score here, you enjoy it," Jordan said. "It was challenging in terms of we knew rain was coming and darkness and everything else so there was a bit of uncertainty whether we would finish.
"It was nice to see [the message from the Tour] at 5.20am that I could roll back over in bed and have a lie-in, but it's certainly strange around here to see water hazards in places that you don't expect."
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