Rory McIlroy wins Dubai Desert Classic title after seeing off the challenge of Patrick Reed

Rory McIlroy wins Dubai Desert Classic title after seeing off the challenge of Patrick Reed

Rory McIlroy has won the Dubai Desert Classic title for the third time in his career on Monday morning after seeing off the challenge of rival Patrick Reed.

The Northern Irishman sunk a brilliant putt on the 18th green to finish on -19 overall – 68 on the day – and one shot ahead of Reed.

“It means a lot,” McIlroy told Sky Sports.

“It was a battle all day, honestly it has been a battle all week. I really feel like I haven’t been at my best all week but i just managed my game so well and played really smart.

“I feel like there is tonnes of room for improvement but it’s a great start to the year. Mentally today was probably one of the toughest rounds I have ever had to play because it would have been really easy to let my emotions get in the way.

“I just had to really concentrate, focus on myself and forget who was up there on the leaderboard. And I did that really, really well.

“I’m going to enjoy this, it was probably sweeter than it should be or needs to be.”

CHAMPION: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the first hole during the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

There had been confrontation between the two in the lead up to this tournament and they had been in close competition heading into the final day.

It was McIlroy who took a three-shot lead into the final round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic although a late blunder gave the chasing pack renewed hope.

The world number one birdied the 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th as he threatened to leave the field trailing in his wake at Emirates Golf Club, only to hit his approach to the 18th into the water to run up his only bogey of the day.

The resulting 65 gave McIlroy a total of 15 under par, with England’s Callum Shinkwin and Dan Bradbury his nearest challengers on 12 under. Reed and Ian Poulter were part o

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