Rory McIlroy showed he has the ability to change the entire complexion of a tournament in an instant with a stunning birdie-eagle finish to his weather-delayed second round in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Five off the lead as he resumed play earlier today, the world No 3 came close to getting some shots back on resumption of play but remained patient and got his reward with a tap in birdie at the 17th and near albatross at the 18th, where his five wood from 268 yards ran past the edge of the hole and finished around six inches away.
It all added up to a two under 70 for McIlroy, who is tied for second with amateur Bryson DeChambeau on eight under par, just two shots behind Andy Sullivan.
After an opening 66, Race to Dubai champion was out of sorts on Friday and one over after a bogey on the ninth.
He resumed on the 14th and made a trio of pars, missing a short putt for birdie on the 16th, before he missed by inches from 100 yards on the next and tapped in from two feet for a first gain of his round.
Mcllroy revealed: "I said, 'let's finish three-three' and I was able to. I don't know if I should say that to myself on the first tee, 'okay, let's have 18 threes here' - Rory McIlroy
"I knew I needed something and I knew I wanted to finish well and I knew 18 was a chance and 17 playing downwind, I would have a wedge in there. So I knew I had a couple of good chances. But I didn't quite expect to do it on 18 there. That was a nice way to finish.
"I've been close before but never had an albatross. Looked pretty close from back there. I'm not sure how close it did come to going in but just happy to finish with an eagle like that and get myself up the leaderboard and stay within touching distance of the leaders."
He added: "Average round to be fair but that's the thing, even when you're not really at your best, to be able to come away with a 70 and still keep within it up of the leaders, I'm really happy with that."
DeChambeau, aiming to become just the fourth amateur in history to win on the European Tour, was alongside McIlroy after registering two bogeys and a birdie in his remaining nine holes for a 72.
Henrik Stenson, looking to complete a grand slam of Gulf state events having won The Commercialbank Qatar Masters, the Dubai Desert Classic and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, had a trio of birdies upon the resumption to salvage a level par 72.
World No 1 Jordan Spieth carded a one over 73, his first over par round for four months, to go into the weekend on three under par and tied 22nd.
Michael Hoey (69) and Darren Clarke (73) made the cut on 141 and 143 respectively.