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Rory making a splash in desert

By Phil Casey

Published 06/02/2016

Watching brief: Rory McIlroy at 15th in Dubai yesterday
Watching brief: Rory McIlroy at 15th in Dubai yesterday

Rory McIlroy showed his frustration by chucking his ball into a lake during his second round at the Dubai Desert Classic.

The defending champion - going for a third victory in the event - had struggled to repeat the form of his four under par opening round and only salvaged yesterday's second round with four late birdies for a level par 72.

The Ulsterman ended the day six shots behind leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello of Spain.

"I struggled in the wind a little bit and didn't get off to the best of starts again," said the world number two.

"I bounced back well and persevered and got something out of the round in the end.

"It never looked like I was going to shoot better than over par, but to shoot par is not bad, and I just need to make sure I get off to a fast start.

"But I've come back from bigger deficits than this, and this is one of my favourite places.

"If I can get off to a faster start, you never know. I'll get better conditions, as well, being out a little earlier. The greens and the course in general got very firm and very fast.

"I was definitely thinking about (missing the cut), especially over the putt on 12. If I missed that and went one over it would have been a long way back," added the 26-year-old.

Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke finished on level par after a second round one over 73 to miss the cut by a single shot. Fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell was a shot further back, while Belfast's Michael Hoey finished on five over.

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