Dominant Donaldson takes early lead in Dubai

Dubai Desert Classic Round 2 updates - McIlroy starts well as Donaldson sets clubhouse lead

McIlroy finished on 22 under a shot behind the victor in a record-breaking battling final round.

The Northern Irishman, a two-time victor of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, had just watched his one-stroke lead disappear on the previous green, then sprayed right his third-last tee-shot of the week.

The four-time major champion needs to win the Green Jacket at Augusta National to complete a career grand slam, having already won the British Open, US Open and the PGA Championship.

Two near misses, that must've hurt Rory McIlroy. "I think most of the time, only two or one behind, so I just want to keep pulling myself in a position and just don't go too far away".

"If someone had told me at the start of the year, "you'd finish third and second your first two events", I'd say, "yeah, I'd take that", he added.

"I didn't expect to play as well as I did last week and it's been nice to continue that into this week", McIlroy said.

"But being in the positions I've been in and having two close calls it's a little hard".

The four-time major victor sits on 19 under par after Round 3 Saturday, just one shot behind China's Li Haotong. "So it just feels right that I'm finally able to have a win here in Myanmar".

"Played nicely. Drove the ball well, iron play was good, took my chances when I was close enough to do so".

After such a messy 2017, it's clear a regular diet of competitive golf is required, for it's hard to imagine Rory making such basic errors when tournament-hardened.

Having restored a two-shot advantage with a solid par-4 at the tough 12th, he also shouldn't have walked off the 13th with a par after leaving himself with a short iron into the green following a majestic drive.

McIlroy, who returned from a three-month absence owing to a rib injury to finish joint-third in Abu Dhabi last week, hit a bogey-free round to remain in contention.

"This is incredible. I just didn't think I could make that putt on 15". Hatton was to finish third at 20 under, one ahead of Alexander Levy.

"I tried until the very end, made him win it in the end, which was all I could do, and he played very well on the way in, birdieing three of the last four".

The world No 60 ended the week on 23 under and broke the tournament's 72-hole scoring record, as McIlroy let a two-shot advantage slip on the back nine to fall just short. The biggest move on day four arrived from Scotland's Richie Ramsay, who claimed a share of sixth courtesy of a 64.

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