Roll up, roll up as the amazing Rory McIlroy attempts his most difficult feat yet - winning the Dubai World Championship with a suspected case of dengue fever while coming from five strokes behind the longest hitter in the world.
That’s the scenario facing world No 2 Rory McIlroy, who must also hope that his rival of the European Money title finishes outside the top nine.
Luke Donald is up to tied 12th, however, after turning a very average round into an excellent 68 by finishing with three consecutive birdies to finish. As if to make life even more difficult, McIlroy finished with pair of bogeys for a 71 that left him on seven under.
Quiros fired a 64 to lead by four from Peter Hanson with McIlroy tied for third with the ever improving Robert Rock. Even Shane Lowry got in on the act, chipping in for eagle at the last for a 70 to move up to tied seventh on five under.
As for McIlroy, his bid to win back-to-back tournaments and the Race to Dubai is most certainly on the rocks, at Lawrence Donegan reports in The Guardian:
McIlroy is not a man to be intimidated but there was a hint of trepidation as he contemplated the two rounds ahead. He needs to win on Sunday to give himself any chance of topping the European Tour’s money list for the first time in his career. Even then he will need Donald to finish no higher than 10th. After 36 holes Donald was in 12th place.
“I have got a bit of an uphill battle ahead of me but it is still possible,” McIlroy said. “I am only five shots behind Alvaro, which you can make up in nine holes. I’ve just got to be patient and bide my time and play as good as I can. I’m going to see a doctor again tomorrow night. They said it could have been dengue fever [an illness transmitted by a mosquito bite], food poisoning or a number of different things. My immune system is a little low and it’s taking my body more time to recover.”
As Oliver Brown reports in the Daily Telegraph, Quiros has no plans to step aside and allow McIlroy and Donald to hog the limelight:
Quirós, though, appeared to have no inclination of relinquishing his advantage, pointing out that there were other plot-lines simmering here besides McIlroy’s tussle with Donald to win the Race to Dubai.
“Rory and Luke are not the only two players in the tournament,” he said, having sunk a 20-foot eagle putt at the 18th. He added, mischievously: “We are playing here to try to ruin the party, and this is good.”
Dubai World Championship (Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):
132 Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 68 64
136 Peter Hanson (Swe) 64 72
137 Rory McIlroy 66 71, Robert Rock 68 69
138 Paul Casey 72 66, Paul Lawrie 65 73
139 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 71 68, Shane Lowry 69 70, Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa) 69 70, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 72 67, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 71 68
140 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 69 71, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 67 73, Luke Donald 72 68, Johan Edfors (Swe) 72 68
141 David Horsey 69 72, Matteo Manassero (Ita) 73 68, David Lynn 69 72, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Spa) 70 71, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 74 67, Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe) 75 66
142 Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 69 73, Ross Fisher 68 74, Alexander Noren (Swe) 70 72, Graeme McDowell 71 71, Ian Poulter 73 69, Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa) 72 70, Lee Westwood 73 69
143 Richie Ramsay 74 69, Retief Goosen (Rsa) 74 69, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 70 73, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 73 70, Ernie Els (Rsa) 74 69, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 70 73, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 72 71
144 Jamie Donaldson 75 69, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 73 71, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 71 73, Scott Jamieson 72 72, Gregory Havret (Fra) 72 72
145 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 73 72, Hennie Otto (Rsa) 70 75, Thomas Levet (Fra) 70 75, James Morrison 75 70
146 Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 72 74, Rhys Davies 73 73
147 Felipe Aguilar (Chi) 70 77, Anders Hansen (Den) 74 73, Joost Luiten (Ned) 76 71, George Coetzee (Rsa) 74 73, Mark Foster 76 71, Michael Hoey 75 72
148 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 71 77, Darren Clarke 76 72
149 Christian Nilsson (Swe) 76 73, Peter Lawrie 75 74
152 Simon Dyson 77 75