McIlroy retains Dubai lead, Woods toils

Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:32am EST
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By Matt Smith

DUBAI (Reuters) - Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy remained on course to end a 14-month European Tour title drought after shooting a second-round 70 to lead the $2.5 million Dubai Desert Classic on Friday as world number one Tiger Woods toiled.

McIlroy reached the halfway stage 11 under at 133 having done most of the hard work with a first-round 63.

He is one shot ahead of the United States' Brooks Koepka, who followed his opening 69 with a 65.

"Hopefully that's my bad round out of the way and I can shoot a couple of better ones over the weekend," McIlroy told reporters.

"It looked for a while like I could build a three-four shot lead.

"The wind was up and I didn't feel as comfortable as I did yesterday. The wind is supposed to get up in the next couple of days as well - I don't mind because I feel I'm hitting the ball well enough and wind usually makes it a bit more of a ball striking contest."

Scoring on Friday proved tougher for most players as Thursday's lush greens dried out under the unforgiving Gulf sun.

Woods was among those to suffer, the 14-times major winner finding the fairway on only four occasions.   Continued...

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the seventh hole during the second round of the 2014 Omega Dubai Desert Classic in Dubai January 31, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah