By Fatiha Betscher in Dubai.
Patrick Reed could not have asked for a better start nor a better finish in making his debut at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in Dubai.
Reed ended his opening round sharing the then lead with rival Rory McIlroy and matching the remarkable effort of the World No. 1. who finished birdie, eagle and birdie, with the American turning on the fireworks in holing a 15-foot putt for an eagle ‘3’ here on the 18th hole in the rain-interrupted Rolex Series event.
It handed the pair rounds of six-under 66s and one shot shy of three players – Thomas Pieters, Victor Perez and Adri Arnaus – in the clubhouse with 67s.
It was not until mid-afternoon that it was confirmed that seven-under officially led in the $US 9m Rolex Series event.,
Players returned to the Emirates host course early on Friday for what was to be an 8am restart to play but after further overnight rain that was delayed to 10am, and this after the Rolex Series event was initially delayed on Thursday by over six hours due to heavy rain that resulted in damage to many of the bunkers.
When poor light halted play on day one, both McIlroy and Reed had three holes to play with McIlroy starting his round from the 10th hole of the course and Reed from the first.
McIlroy was two-under at the time and Reed at four-under.
McIlroy then took just seven shots going birdie, eagle and birdie to grab the clubhouse lead at six-under-par when Reed, who was on the adjoining 18th hole and some minutes behind McIlroy, landed his second shot some 15-feet shy of the flag and calmly sunk the eagle ‘3’ putt.
“Obviously, it’s been a stop-and-start week since first waking-up early yesterday morning and then learning play wasn’t starting till the afternoon, and the same this morning getting to the course early and being informed play was being delayed for two hours,” said Reed.
“It was a great way to finish this morning, eagling the last as that was a huge plus in ending the round.
“I’d been playing pretty solid ahead of the stoppage late yesterday, so to finish off with an eagle for the 66 is going to make lunch taste that much nicer.
“Given the course is wet, it places that extra-important in finding the fairways and you have to hit solid tee shots.
“So, I feel as though I am doing that well in controlling my ball well off the tees, and because of that I am making my way around the golf course a lot better than I managed last week in Abu Dhabi.
“There was just a lot of rustiness in my game from having a long time off, the game is good to have that bonce-back that I’ve shown so far this week.”
And Reed was highly complimentary of the work of the Emirates Club staff in getting the golf course back to picture postcard condition, despite the deluge to hit Dubai over the past two days,
“They have done an unbelievable job. With just the conditions, we’re in the desert and we don’t expect it to rain, and with how much it has rained and for them to get the golf course to not just playable but to get it where it’s in really good shape is amazing. It shows how great they are at their craft,” he said
“You know, the biggest thing this week obviously is going to be all the stopping and starting. Today it looks like those are the only two holes I’m going to play all day. So it’s just trying to stay loose, but at the same time not wear yourself out and just kind of be ready for a long day either tomorrow or the next day.”
Richard Bland and Ian Poulter had assumed the lead at eight-under par early into their second rounds when play was suspended for the night. A Monday finish has since been confirmed in Dubai.
- Full scoring HERE