Everything you need to know from day two of the second Rolex Series event of 2022.
Justin kept his nose in front, Rory was on the prowl, we had our first ace of the week and everyone was tickled pink on day three of the 2022 Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic.
Here is everything you need to know from Saturday at Emirates Golf Club.
Harding keeps his head
While many of those around him endured roller coaster rounds, Justin Harding plotted his way to an impressive, methodical 71 to get to 12 under and lead the way from four-time Major Champion Rory McIlroy. Another Ryder Cupper in Tommy Fleetwood was then at nine under alongside South African Erik van Rooyen, a shot clear of three more members of Europe's 2020 team in Paul Casey, Tyrrell Hatton and Bernd Wiesberger, England's Richard Bland, Pole Adrian Meronk and Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti. That's a high-class pack to keep at bay as you hunt a first Rolex Series title but Harding was undaunted. "At the end of the day, I've just got to go out and keep doing what I'm doing and make a couple of birdies and shoot 70, 69, something like that," he said. "Make them shoot five or six under par and credit to them. I'm quite happy with it and go again tomorrow."
McIlroy eyeing Dubai hat-trick
McIlroy is excited to have the chance to claim a third title at this event as he heads into the final round just two shots off the lead. The four-time Major Champion won his first DP World Tour trophy at this event and also claimed victory in 2015 before going close to completing his hat-trick in 2018 only to lose out to Li Haotong. He now has the chance to make it another career first in the desert as he goes in search of a maiden Rolex Series title and he is relishing the challenge of trying to reel in Harding at the top of the leaderboard. “I’m excited,” he said. “Had a really good chance in 2018 and let it slip through my fingers there when Haotong won. Good to give myself another opportunity. It would be nice to get another win, especially here in Dubai. But it’s obviously nice to get a win anywhere early in the season. So I’ve just got to go out there tomorrow and try to play a good round of golf and hopefully it’s good enough."
Fantastic Fox chases the ace
The DP World Tour has its first hole-in-one of 2022 after Ryan Fox holed a nine iron from 175 yards on the par-three fourth. The ace is the second of the season after JC Ritchie's at the Joburg Open, the 18th in a Rolex Series event and the first of Fox's career on the DP World Tour. Well done that man.
Westwood putts on a show
If you can hole one 30-footer in a round you're usually pretty pleased. Lee Westwood made two back-to-back.
Two superb putts from @WestwoodLee 😍— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) January 29, 2022
Five birdies in six holes moves him to two off the lead.#SlyncDDC | #RolexSeries pic.twitter.com/z2NvWvNg3J
It has been fantastic having Adam Scott back on the Desert Swing for the first two Rolex Series events of the season - especially when he's doing things like this.
Emirates Golf Club goes pink
Day three in Dubai was Pink Saturday with the players, caddies, flags, hospitality areas and TV graphics all festooned in pink in support of the Al-Jalila Foundation to raise awareness for breast cancer research.
Pink Saturday @SlyncDDC 👚— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) January 29, 2022
Players, staff and fans are encouraged to wear Pink to help raise awareness and funds towards the fight on breast cancer. #SlyncDDC | #RolexSeries pic.twitter.com/apSUXeo5DE