McIlroy once again battling Sullivan in Abu Dhabi


ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – For Rory McIlroy, this week is something of a desert déjà vu.

It was just two months ago that he was in a similar situation, vying for a title while paired with Andy Sullivan on Sunday in the United Arab Emirates.

At November’s DP World Tour Championship, things went the Northern Irishman’s way for a one-stroke victory over Sullivan.

Whether Sunday is more of the same will depend on the morning fog, which has delayed play for two days at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, and McIlroy’s ability to distance himself over the final 27 holes.

McIlroy was tied for the lead with four other players at 10 under when play was halted by darkness on Saturday, with Sullivan – who triple bogeyed his final hole on Day 3 – a stroke back.

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“We sort of separated ourselves a little bit from the rest of the field [at the DP World Tour Championship],” McIlroy said. “This one is a bit more bunched. I think there will be a few more in contention.”

Sixteen players are within three strokes of the lead, including world No. 1 Jordan Spieth, but McIlroy still has nine holes early Sunday to separate himself from the field like he did early Saturday when he completed his second round.

McIlroy played the final two holes of his delayed second round birdie-eagle to move back into the hunt, and was solid to start Round 3 with three birdies and a bogey through his first nine holes.

“I’d definitely take the same result,” McIlroy said when asked if this week’s event reminded him of last year’s European Tour finale.