McIlroy stands the desert heat
Golf:Rory McIlroy overcame what he thinks was a touch of sunstroke to move into a share of the halfway lead at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. The world number one shot a second round 67 and goes into the weekend 11 under par alongside world number two Luke Donald and Scot Marc Warren.
South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace are only a stroke behind.
"I got off the course yesterday and had a really sore head and a fever," said McIlroy. "I think it was a bit of sunstroke. I took a few things and felt better, but I'm not feeling great again. The sun's taking it out of me a bit."
He birdied two of the first three, but came up short of the green at the 245-yard fourth and bogeyed. It was his only dropped stroke, however, and further birdies came at the seventh, 10th, 14th - he lipped out for eagle there - and 15th.
Overnight leader Donald had a 68, while playing partner Warren - 189th in the world - matched McIlroy's round.
Warren will play with McIlroy for only the second time in his life in Dubai on Saturday - and the circumstances are certainly different.
Warren remembers being paired with McIlroy at Walton Heath in a US Open qualifier; "I think he was about four at the time," he joked.
It was actually 2008 and the 19-year-old McIlroy was already destined for greatness, but both failed to get through to Torrey Pines - scene of Tiger Woods' last major victory - that day.
"Everyone knew from day one that Rory was special and I'm really looking forward to it," said the 31-year-old after outscoring 2001 Walker Cup team-mate Donald by one.
That may have just delayed a head-to-head clash between golf's current top two for 24 hours, but Warren takes great heart from how he performed.
"Little things like that, it does wonders for your confidence," he added. "It's going to be a great weekend. The atmosphere is buzzing already so I'm looking forward to seeing what it's like on Saturday and Sunday as well. It's nice to be the Scot with the Englishman and the Northern Irishman. It's a high-quality leaderboard and doesn't get any better in the world really."
Sergio Garcia shot one of golf's most remarkable course records - two eagles, nine birdies, two bogeys and a triple bogey seven.
It all added up to a second round 64, eight under par, and from 49th place after his initial 73 he was back in contention at seven under.
The score was all the more amazing with this being the 32-year-old Spaniard's first event since the Ryder Cup in September. He underwent laser surgery afterwards to correct his astigmatism.
"It was unbelievable, wasn't it?" he said after moving from one over par to seven under.
An 18-foot eagle putt from just off the back of the final green made Garcia the sixth player to hand in a 64 on the Greg Norman-designed Earth course, venue for the European Tour's season-ending showpiece for the past four years.
Garcia went for the surgery because he was finding contact lenses uncomfortable and said of his improved eyesight: "I'm still kind of getting used to it."
He had five birdies in an outward 31, started for home with two more, bogeyed the next two, then sank a 30-foot eagle putt on the long 14th.
The tee at the 371-yard 15th had been moved up and after driving the green he sank an eight-foot second putt for birdie, but then pushed an eight-iron into the water on the next.
With three putts a triple bogey went on his card, but he hit back with a six-iron to four feet and then had his closing eagle - after his drive had headed for the stream running down the fairway, but then hit the rocks and bounced out.
Moments earlier German Marcel Siem had hit his second shot into the water by the green and by taking a bogey six had to settle for a 65.
Welshman Jamie Donaldson also ran up a six and, having bogeyed the 16th as well, he dropped back from 10 under to eight under.
Donald was one behind McIlroy and Warren playing the par-five 18th, but pitched to within 18 inches of the hole for a fourth birdie of the round and has yet to record a bogey in the tournament.
Collated second-round scores (Gbr & Irl unless stated, Irish in bold, par 72):
133 Rory McIlroy 66 67, Marc Warren 66 67, Luke Donald 65 68
134Branden Grace (Rsa) 69 65, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 67 67
135Richie Ramsay 67 68, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 68 67
136Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 70 66, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 68 68, Danny Willett 71 65, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 69 67, Peter Hanson (Swe) 69 67, Justin Rose 68 68, Jamie Donaldson 68 68, Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe) 67 69, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 68 68, Marcus Fraser (Aus) 69 67
137Joost Luiten (Ned) 69 68, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 73 64, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 67 70, Scott Jamieson 68 69, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 68 69
138Stephen Gallacher 68 70, Romain Wattel (Fra) 70 68, Marcel Siem (Ger) 73 65, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Spa) 66 72, Simon Dyson 69 69, George Coetzee (Rsa) 71 67, Pádraig Harrington 67 71
139Anders Hansen (Den) 69 70
140Chris Wood 71 69, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 68 72, Peter Lawrie 68 72, Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa) 70 70, Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 71 69
141Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 72 69, Matteo Manassero (Ita) 73 68, Lee Westwood 67 74, Michael Hoey 70 71
142Robert Rock 72 70, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 71 71, Jbe Kruger (Rsa) 72 70, Ian Poulter 72 70, Alejandro Canizares (Spa) 74 68, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 72 70, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 70 72
143Francesco Molinari (Ita) 72 71, Alexander Noren (Swe) 70 73, Paul Lawrie 71 72
145Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 71 74, David Drysdale 71 74, Graeme McDowell 72 73
146Lee Slattery 74 72
148Richard Sterne (Rsa) 74 74
150Richard Finch 76 74, David Lynn 73 77