Dubai Desert Classic as it happened: Rory McIlroy wins title for fourth time

Final round of 70 enough for Northern Irishman to beat Adrian Meronk by a shot



Rory McIlroy -14 (F)

Adrian Meronk -13 (F)

Cameron Young -12 (F)



Rory McIlroy speaks to Sky Sports:

“It’s really cool. I didn’t think about that during the course of the round. It was a tricky day, it was hard to make a ton of birdies.

“The 8th and 9th holes were key to make birdies. I made a blunder on 13th but I steadied the ship well. I held on as best as I could. Thankfully, nobody at the top of the leaderboard made much of a run.

“Played the game long enough to know how these are going to go! Incredible to get my fourth win at the Emirates.

“It’s a great start to the season. It’s a great platform to build from. There’s still a few misses off the tee from the left. It’s great to get the competition and come out on top.”


McIlroy is going for it in two, despite the water and his lead. 225 yard with an iron. It’s a low bullet to the left and over the water but needs to get down in three to win.

Cameron Young hit a wonderful shot from 230, just to the back of the green. He gets his birdie and a final round of 74.

Great chip by McIlroy to 10 feet. Two putts from there to be champion!

Par for McIlroy. He has won the Dubai Desert Classic!


McIlroy with a par putt then from 3 feet, safely makes it. Two-shot lead heading to the last. A bogey for Young, his race is run.

Rory goes for a 3 wood at the 18th, par 5 of 564 yards. He’s happy with that, middle of the fairway on the right side.

So then, all on Meronk for eagle at the last. He leaves it 4 feet short from 72 feet. Birdie for Meronk! Might be too little to late but clarifies things for McIlroy. Par to win the Dubai Desert Classic.


Meronk’s drive at the 18th hits a low fade and he’s found the fairway, will need to go for that and try to make an eagle given McIlroy’s position.

McIlroy’s chip is clumsy. He overhits it considerably and even farther away than Meronk was for birdie. Young tries a flop from the heavy rough but chunks it 10 yards ahead of him. His next flop doesn’t make the green. Looks like he might be waiting another day for his first win.

From just off the green, McIlroy belly wedges it well short. That’s not in yet for par...

Meronk then from 203 yards into 18. Great hit to the middle of the green, stays near the back. Good birdie chance now.


Meronk then on the 17th from the cabbage, doesn’t make the green. He’s still in the rough. He is just enough in the fringe to have a go at it. He takes out a fairway wood and it’s a good effort but no birdie and a par at the short par 4.

McIlroy with driver on the 17th, bounces on the green at the par 4 but rolls into the rough on the left. Perfect side to be on, good chance for birdie if he can get up and down.


Meronk goes for the green at the short par 4 17th, 330 yards. He leaves it short and to the right, that’s a tough up and down from there.

McIlroy’s birdie putt from 40 feet is well hit, to a foot of the hole. Just what he needed. Par and two-shot lead with two holes left.

Birdie for Young! Big putt from 25 feet to join Meronk on 12 under.


Bogey for Meronk! Meronk’s putt for par to stay within one goes long to the left on the 16th.

McIlroy is blocked off by trees and in the sand on the 16th. How will he manufacture one from here?

Brilliant shot by McIlroy! He avoids all the trees with a punch to the fat part of the green.


Meronk from 172 yards with a horrible lie gives it his Sunday best. The rough catches it and it’s gone to the left and short of the green.

McIlroy safely makes his par. Three holes to go.

McIlroy goes for the jugular again at the 16th hole. He overdraws it and well down the left in potential trouble. He could be rescued by Meronk’s pitch which is disappointing and leaves himself a long par putt ahead.


Meronk for birdie at 15 goes long and has work to do for par. Just sneaks in the corner, his girlfriend with a big sigh of relief there!

McIlroy from 200 yards at the par 3. Solid iron shot into the same area as Meronk, middle of the green at the tough hole.

Meronk on 16 hits his drive into the heavy rough, not ideal for him.

40 feet then for McIlroy, he leaves his putt short and left, maybe 4 feet left for par.


Meronk on the 15th hole hits a solid shot at the long par 3 to the middle of the green.

Young hits a fine approach, 15 feet for birdie on 14. His putt is way off, putting has gone and Meronk looks the main challenger to McIlroy.

McIlroy from 138 yards muscles it to the right of the green but a very long putt left for birdie. That will be a tough two-putt.

Some 70 odd feet for McIlroy... his putt is superb to three feet. Can’t do much better than that. Still work to do though, but he gets his par! Important.


Middle of the fairway at the 14th with a 3 wood for Cam Young. Another big left by McIlroy off the tee, just clears the trees but in the sand and a bad angle for a tight flag. Not good.

Birdie for Meronk! He gets within one shot.


Adrian Meronk hits an amazing shot in from 140 to close at the tough 14th hole, and there’s a great birdie chance ahead.

McIlroy hits a nice bunker shot but rolls through the back and from off the green. Could make bogey here and we could have quite the swing.

Cameron Young leaves his putt short, can’t afford to be doing that.

Bogey for McIlroy! Good attempt with the belly wedge but comes up just short. Meronk now has a chance to get within one shot.


McIlroy finds his ball deep in the trees but has to find some sort of way to get out. He doesn’t reach the fairway and could be hindered by a tree on his next shot. His next shot is still in the sand, tree slightly in the way. He attempts a swing and the tree gets in the way. Finally, hooks it into the front bunker. 40-yard bunker shot left, needs to get up and down for par.

Young lays up and has a birdie putt from about 10 feet.

Meronk meanwhile has moved within three of the lead with a birdie on 13. He’s down the middle on the 14th.


McIlroy makes an error with his drive, looking to launch one at the par 5 and hits it miles into the trees on the left at 13. Strange to see him so wayward. Cameron Young can’t find the fairway on the right, sits down in the rough.

He takes out a provisional ball and hits the fairway but was that necessary with a four-shot lead?


Cameron Young hits a superb recovery shot to leave himself 5 or 6 feet for par, massive high flop shot, well played. But he misses the putt again! Very tentative putt, looks nervous.

McIlroy misses his birdie putt, but makes his par. Four-shot lead!

On the par 5 13th ahead, Li flushes a 3 wood to just over the green. Massive drive by Meronk and he finds the fringe on the left, good chance for birdie.


A massive drive down the middle by McIlroy at the 12th, putting his foot down. Young also in the fairway well down there. Young caddied this week by Dubliner Paul McBride, formerly an outstanding amateur who is making his way in the mini tours of the pro game.

A very poor approach by Young, he mishit that badly. McIlroy with 159 yards to go hits a lovely draw to 15 feet short of the pin. Just what was needed.


On the 11th hole, McIlroy hit it to the middle of the green at the par 3 after Young went into the heavy rough on the right. Young’s chip is decent, but has work to do for par. McIlroy’s lag putt is decent, should be a par.

Cameron Young misses the par putt from about 10 feet. It’s a par for McIlroy and the lead is three strokes again.

Watch McIlroy’s birdie at the eighth:


Cameron Young makes a birdie at the par 5 10th, so the lead is back to two shots. McIlroy left his bunker shot just on the fringe and had a chance from 15 feet but his putt faded. Haotong Li had a good birdie chance on the 11th but his putt just missed.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of the conclusion of the Dubai Desert Classic from Emirates GC in Dubai. It’s looking good for Rory McIlroy so far, with three birdies in his opening nine holes he has taken a three-shot lead over the stumbling overnight leader Cameron Young, who is chasing his first victory and was two over for his front nine. It means McIlroy is at 15 under, and has a three-shot lead over Young, with Haotong Li and Adrian Meronk a shot further back on 11 under.

McIlroy is chasing his fourth Dubai Desert Classic title and his first title of the season, after finishing second last week to Tommy Fleetwood and leading going into the final hole. McIlroy is also defending the title. Yesterday, McIlroy shot a 63 with an eagle on the final hole to catapult into contention.

On the 10th hole, McIlroy is just short of the green in two, has a tricky pitch ahead to try to get up and down for another birdie.

Tom McKibbin has played well this week and is tied 14th on 5 under. Pádraig Harrington missed the cut.


Haotong Li -11 (10)