Rors Hits the Front in Dubai
By Conor Nagle under European PGA Tour

Obligatory panoramic shot: McIlroy in action during Tuesday's practice round.

Continuing a spectacular run of form that has seen the 22-year-old fail to collect a top-five finish in only one of the seven European Tour events he’s entered since last season’s USPGA Championship, world number two Rory McIlroy fired a flawless seven-under-par 65 this morning to claim a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

The Northerner, whose maiden victory came in the 2009 running of the event, is joined on an aggregate total of 13-under-par by another former champion, Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn.

Overnight leader Rafael Cabrera-Bello, though no longer at the head of proceedings, will nonetheless be relieved to have accomplished that most awkward of tasks and succeeded in following a spectacular round with an encouraging one.

The Spaniard’s second-round 69 leaves him alone on  12-under-par.

World number four Martin Kaymer (67) is amongst a trio of players tied for fourth place, while Lee Westwood (65), whose quest for form has gathered apace, sits a shot further adrift.

The suprise of the day was, unquestionably, the performance of Henrik Stenson. The Swede, who has endured a spectacular fall from grace since his victory at the 2009 Players Championship, carded a 64 to vault from the projected cutline to a place on the periphery of the top ten. The most welcome of statistical aberrations, one hopes his round can yield a breakthrough of sorts.

Conor Nagle