Rory McIlroy trails by two in Dubai after first round

By The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 5, 2016 at 1:24 AM
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Defending champion Rory McIlroy is two shots out of the lead after firing a 4-under-par 68 in Thursday's opening round of the Dubai Desert Classic in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Alex Noren of Sweden holds the first-round lead after a 6-under 66. Four golfers are at 67.

McIlroy made six birdies but also had two bogeys during his round.

"I thought I did well, considering the start and having some of the shots I hit throughout the round," McIlroy said. "A 68 was probably a fair reflection of how I played. I don't feel like I could have really gone any lower than that, but at the same time I gave myself enough chances to make some birdies."

Noren had a clean round by avoiding bogeys while notching six birdies.

"I hit a lot of good shots but a few bad shots and got away with it," Noren said. "When you do that and still can manage to shoot 66, then you have had a pretty good day, so I won't be complaining too much.

"I didn't really expect to be leading, so it feels even better when that is the outcome."

Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Spain, Trevor Fisher Jr. of South Africa, Peter Hanson of Sweden and Brett Rumford of Australia are the four players who trail by one shot.

McIlroy is one of eight golfers at 68. Also in the pack is Ernie Els, a three-time winner of the event.

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