He leads by two shots over Yannik Paul of Germany and Denmark’s Jeff Winther after carding a 1-under 70 on Friday, but his round included a quadruple bogey at the par-3 8th.
“I think if I look at the other 17 holes that I played, I played very, very well again. Hit some good iron shots,” McIlroy said of his Friday round.
“Played not too dissimilarly to the way I played [Thursday]… But the conditions were getting a little trickier. The wind was up. The greens were firm, and I had a couple of miscues on the 8th hole. I felt like I did well to get my head back into it and play some solid golf on the way in, and everyone seemed to find it a little more difficult today than yesterday. So it’s nice to go into the weekend with the lead.”
McIlroy rifled not one but two tee balls into the water to the left of the green at the 214-yard 8th hole. His fifth shot finally found the putting surface, but he could not make the 13-footer for a triple bogey.
Making a quadruple bogey, McIlroy dropped from 11-under to 7-under just like that.
But the Northern Irishman quickly put his mishaps behind him. After missing an 11-footer for birdie on the 9th hole, McIlroy made birdie at the par-5 10th.
“Ten was big. I had a chance to bounce back on nine that I missed but 10 was big.” McIlroy noted.
Three holes later, on the par-5 13th, McIlroy drove the green in two, thus setting up another birdie. The 13th at Dubai Creek features an island green, thus requiring two accurate shots to get home in two. McIlroy avoided the water as he continued to recover from his troubles at the 8th.
He then made one more birdie on the par-3 16th, thus giving him five total on the day to go along with his quad at the 8th.
The day before, the four-time major champion carded a bogey-free 9-under 62.
McIlroy sits at 10-under for the tournament and will begin his third round on Saturday at 1:39 a.m. ET. Golf Channel will begin coverage at 2:30 a.m. ET.