Golf

Rory McIlroy Leaderboard and Score Updates from Abu Dhabi Golf Championship 2014

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2014

Rory McIlroy Leaderboard and Score Updates from Abu Dhabi Golf Championship 2014

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    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Rory McIlroy's presence at last year's Abu Dhabi Golf Championship remains memorable for the Irishman's grand failure, but after failing to miss the cut 12 months ago, the former world No. 1 had the opportunity to begin 2014 by making headlines for the right reason.

    McIlroy finished strong and ended the tournament in second place (-13), just one stroke off the lead.

    The 24-year-old had just signed his mega-money deal with Nike prior to last season's event, exchanging his tried and tested Titleist clubs for the famous swoosh, but his inability to perform in Asia led to months of trouble for the talented player.

    "Reflecting back on last year, there was a lot of instability going on, but I'm starting this season on such a different sort of platform," McIlroy said in an interview with local reporters, per Bob Harig of ESPN.

    Ranked seventh in the world entering this tournament, things have settled down for McIlroy in recent times. His first victory of 2013 came during December's Australian Open, ending fears of finishing the season without silverware.

    McIlroy's engagement to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki has also led the player to say he has "stability" in his life, as reported by James Corrigan of The Telegraph.

    With this in mind, he has started the new year with a fantastic performance at the tournament that was remembered for the start of his previous downfall.

Day 4, Larrazabal Wins by One, McIlroy Pays Penalty Price

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    Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

    Despite a terrific fightback at the last gasp of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Rory McIlroy's tournament ultimately ended with regret the emotion riding above all else.

    Pablo Larrazabal continued his surge to stride clear of the Northern Irishman by just one shot in the end, putting into perspective the cost of Saturday's two-shot penalty.

    Here's how the top of the leaderboard looked at the tournament's close: 

    Position Player Nationality  Score
    1.Pablo Larrazabal Spain-14
    T2.Rory McIlroy Northern Ireland-13
    T2.Phil MickelsonUSA-13 
    T4.Rafa Cabrera-Bello Spain -12
    T4.George Coetzee South Africa-12
    6.Joost Luiten
    Holland-10
    7Johan Carlsson Sweden-9
    T8.Stephen Gallacher Scotland-8
    T8.Robert Karlsson Sweden-8
    T10.  Gaganjeet Bhullar India-7
    T10.  Thomas BjornDenmark-7
    T10.Darren Fichardt South Africa-7
    T10.Peter HansonSweden-7
    T10. Tyrrell Hatton England-7
    T10.Michael Hoey Northern Ireland-7
    T10. Thongchai Jaidee Thailand-7
    T10.Miguel Angel JimenezSpain-7
    T10.Craig LeeScotland-7

    The full leaderboard can be found on the European Tour's website.

    McIlroy was joined by Phil Mickelson as the two late contenders to depose Larrazabal from his first-place perch, but the Spaniard had the resolve necessary to pull away in the end.

    The 30-year-old went into the final hole just one shot clear of his two pursuers, all three of whom managed to birdie the 18th, Larrazabal doing so for the third time out of four attempts this week.

    McIlroy's Sunday outing started well enough, bogeying one hole on the front nine but birdying the second, seventh and eighth to counteract that setback.

    The back nine once again proved clean for the 24-year-old, who didn't slip up once, but his tally of just two birdies in the latter half of the day proved insufficient, risks kept at bay as a result of his uncertain position. 

    Considering that he was behind heading onto the 18th, a stroke of genius was required by McIlroy, and that's exactly what was received, as described by broadcaster Andrew Cotter:

    Larrazabal 13-under and McIlroy 12 playing the last. McIlroy smokes drive on hole which he has birdied every day so far.

    — Andrew Cotter (@MrAndrewCotter) January 19, 2014

    Were it not for Larrazabal's own flair at the end, the drive and finish may have been good enough to force a playoff, but Saturday's penalty ended up telling the tale.

    RTE Sport's Des Cahill illustrates just how costly the misstep was:

    Rory McIlroy misses out by one shot in Abu Dhabi. That needless 2 shot penalty yesterday proves really costly.

    — Des Cahill (@sportsdes) January 19, 2014

    Irrespective of the result, however, McIlroy can leave Abu Dhabi feeling content with his performance. The last day's play was nothing if not safe in what was a very mature reaction to his predicament.

    Ultimately, however, there's no trophy on show for the Holywood native, who will need to now bounce back from an upsetting runners-up finish alongside Mickelson.

Day 3, Penalty Puts McIlroy out of Final Group

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Rory McIlroy looked to have stayed in touch with leader Craig Lee after another consistent performance, but a two-shot penalty ended his celebration.

    Aside from this, McIlroy's game stayed free from error. After three birdies in the first nine holes, he relaxed into a steady game over the back nine.

    It wasn't until the final hole when he hit his fourth birdie, but the patient play that preceded it had put him in a good position going into the final day. The news of the penalty reduced his total from 11 under to nine under and put him out of the final group for tomorrow.

    McIlroy ended the day in fourth place, three shots behind Lee. The Scotsman's bogey on the 16th—he finished with 69 for the day—meant that all is not lost for McIlroy, but it will need something special on Day 4.

    McIlroy's driving has been a feature of his improvement in this tournament. Hitting the ball crisply, McIlroy has frequently set himself up for simple approach shots and consistent rounds.

    That will give him some hope and a good foundation for tomorrow.

    Rory McIlroy's score now adjusted from -11 to -9...looks like a two-shot penalty on No. 2. Now trails Lee by 3, bumped from final group.

    — Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) January 18, 2014

    Re: Rory penalty. Details still fuzzy, but looks like he took an incorrect drop. RT @s_chenu what happened?

    — Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) January 18, 2014

    McIlroy talked about the decision after the round, according to Will Gray of the Golf Channel:

    Great quote from McIlroy to @BBCSport on penalty: "There are some stupid rules in golf, and this is one of them."

    — Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) January 18, 2014

    The golfer also took to Twitter to talk about the penalty:

    Foot fault.....

    — Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) January 18, 2014
    Position Player Nationality  Score
    1.Craig LeeScotland-12
    T2.Phil MickelsonUSA-10
    T2.Gaganjeet BhullarIndia-10
    T4.Pablo Larrazabal Spain-9
    T4. Rory McIlroyNorthern Ireland-9
    T6. Miguel Angel JiminezSpain-8
    T6. Michael HoeyNorthern Ireland-8
    T6.Thongchai JaideeThailand-8
    T6.Matthew BaldwinEngland-8
    T6.Rafa Cabrera-Bello Spain-8

    Full leaderboard at EuropeanTour.com

Day 2, McIlroy Opens His Game to Surge Up the Standings

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    Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

    For all the stability and safety that Rory McIlroy offered on Day 1 of the competition, the Northern Irishman's second round was a far more extravagant affair, thrusting the 24-year-old into title recognition in Abu Dhabi.

    Save for a double-bogey slip on the sixth, McIlroy was spotless in his second Abu Dhabi outing this year, recording a five-under 67 to move within two shots of leader Craig Lee.

    He enters the weekend tied for fourth on seven-under. Here's how the top of the leaderboard looks heading into the final two days of the tournament: 

    Position Player Nationality  Score
    T1.Craig LeeScotland-9
    T1. Rafa Cabrera-Bello Spain -9 
    3. Danny Willett England -8 
    T4. Thomas Bjorn Denmark -7 
    T4.  Ricardo Gonzalez Argentina -7 
    T4.  Rory McIlroy Northern Ireland -7 
    T7. Tommy Fleetwood England -6 
    T7. George Coetzee South Africa-6 
    T7. Joost Luiten Holland-6 
    T10. Pablo Larrazabal Spain-5 
    T10.  Marcel Siem Germany -5 

    The full leaderboard can be found on the European Tour's website.

    Following on from his assured opening round, McIlroy once again teed off in esteemed company with Phil Mickelson and Jamie Donaldson.

    It took time for the Nike athlete to get into his rhythm, turning at level-par for the day, but a back nine containing five birdies was a tally matched only by Darren Fichardt.

    McIlroy's streak included a rousing finish, returning to the clubhouse with birdies at the 17th and 18th holes, the former of which Kevin Garside noted as the shot of the day: 

    Shot of the day says @ewenmurray77 of McIlroy's 5-iron approach at 17. No argument here. #sweetspot

    — Kevin Garside (@GARSIDEK) January 17, 2014

    McIlroy was oozing with confidence following the display, telling BBC Sport he was "excited" for what the rest of the weekend brings:

    It is a good position to be in and I am excited. It is a great way to start the season, being in the mix with 36 holes to play. I hit a poor tee shot on the sixth and took a double-bogey there but I did well to get back to level par for the round at the ninth.

    I gave myself a target of four under for the back nine. I felt if I could do that I would be right there for the weekend and I managed to go one better.

    The superstar unshackled the bolts that arguably restrained him on Day 1, but it was calculated risk that came to the fore as McIlroy set a precedent which, if it can be maintained, makes him one of the clear favourites to win come Sunday's finale.

Day 1, Solid Start Sees McIlroy 3 Behind Joint Leaders

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    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Rory McIlroy posted a solid, unspectacular first round at this year's Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, firing a two-under 70 to put himself three behind joint leaders Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Romain Wattel and Matthew Baldwin's score of 67.

    Just two birdies—sunk at the fifth and 18th—punctuated a string of pars throughout the day, providing a solid foundation to build on for the rest of the tournament.

    Here's a look at the first-round leaderboard:

    PositionPlayerNationalityScore
    1.Rafa Cabrera-BelloESP-5
    T1.Romain WattelFRA-5
    T1.Matthew BaldwinENG-5
    T4.Joost LuitenNED-4
    T4.Marc WarrenSCO-4
    T4.Dawie Van der WaltRSA-4
    T4.Jose-Filipe LimaPOR-4
    T4.Paul McGinleyIRL-4
    T4.George CoetzeeRSA-4
    T4.Craig LeeSCO-4
    T15.Rory McIlroyNIR-2

    The full leaderboard can be found on the European Tour's website.

    McIlroy met few troubles during his round and can be pleased with his opening effort. The second hole—McIlroy's 11th of the day—provided his biggest test after he found the rough with his second shot.

    However, a brilliant recovery attempt saw him edge onto the green, then make par.

    He could have been within two shots of the lead, but McIlroy missed his birdie chance on his penultimate hole at the eighth from five feet. Typically for his day's play, he comfortably made par.

    It wasn't all business for the Northern Irishman and, after announcing his engagement to Caroline Wozniacki, he was treated to a fine garment—per Randall Mell of GolfChannel.com:

    When they aren't asking Rory McIlroy to dance in Abu Dhabi, they're dressing him up: pic.twitter.com/AFTKFmxEqE

    — Randall Mell (@RandallMellGC) January 16, 2014

    Speaking after completing his 18, McIlroy appeared in high spirits, per the European Tour's official website:

    That's about as good as I have struck the ball in a long time. I had a good end to 2013 and of course a great New Year so yeah, I think I do have the spring back in my step. Driving the ball well is so important for me; when I can do that I usually score good too.

    McIlroy can be pleased with his form throughout the session, but as the championship continues, he will need to capitalise on his birdie chances in order to challenge for the prize on Sunday.

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