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Dubai Invitational: Rory McIlroy shoots nine under to take first-round lead as Tommy Fleetwood also makes strong start

Rory McIlroy was in superb form as he made nine birdies without dropping a shot at the Dubai Creek Resort; Tommy Fleetwood fourth after shooting a 67; watch the second round from 7.30am on Friday live on Sky Sports Golf, with final round on Sunday from same time

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Highlights from Rory McIlroy's opening round of the Dubai Invitational where he shot a sensational nine-under-par 62

Rory McIlroy produced a sublime nine-under-par opening round to surge into the lead at the Dubai Invitational on the DP World Tour.

Starting his round at the 10th at the Dubai Creek Resort, McIlroy got hot around the turn with a run of six birdies in eight holes.

The world No 2 then moved himself clear of the field with two birdies at his final three holes, with a stunning approach to the ninth setting up an eight-foot putt to close the bogey-free round in style.

McIlroy, who is making his first appearance of 2024 at the Pro-Am event, holds a two-shot lead over Germany's Yannik Paul, with South African Thriston Lawrence a shot further back in third.

Tommy Fleetwood made four birdies on his back nine to move within four shots of his Ryder Cup team-mate on five-under, with Thorbjorn Olesen finishing on the same mark.

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Rory McIlroy opens day one of the Dubai Invitational nine under and finishes his bogey-free 62 with a birdie

Playing alongside Fleetwood, Nicolai Hojgaard took a share of sixth with a four-under-par 67.

European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald is also in the field, finishing his opening round at level par.

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McIlroy, who will defend his Dubai Desert Classic title next week, told Sky Sports: "I didn't expect that.

"It didn't feel quite as good as that the first couple of days when I was here hitting balls and playing the course but it was nice to get a card in the hand again and feel the competitive juices flowing.

"I surprised myself a little bit but hopefully more of the same over the next few days.

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Rory McIlroy admits even he was surprised to card a nine-under par round of 62 at the Dubai Invitational.

"When the wind gets up it can get a little bit tricky. We played the first 12 or 13 holes basically without any wind and then there was a little coming in.

"I think you just have to miss it in the right spots, there's some water here and there and I think I did a good job today of managing my misses on the right side and when I did hit good shots I was available to take advantage of them."

The tournament features a 72-hole stroke play tournament played alongside a three-day pro-am team event, with Sunday featuring professionals only.

"These pro-ams I either play with my dad or this week I'm playing with the tournament host so there's maybe added pressure there as well to go out and perform, but it's a very easy way to get back into things," McIlroy added.

"This is a nice week to do some extra practice and put some work in so that I feel a bit more ready, not just for next week which is obviously a bigger event, but also going into the bulk of the season."

Watch the Dubai Invitational throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday from 7.30am on Sky Sports. Watch McIlroy in action throughout 2024 live on Sky Sports. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and more on NOW.

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