Defending champion Rory McIlroy in hunt at Dubai Desert Classic

World number two Rory McIlroy has put himself in contention at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic with an opening round of 68 at Emirates Golf Club.

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The Northern Irishman, who is the defending champion and two-time winner of the event, began on the 10th hole and got off to bad start by making a bogey six. However, three birdies either side of a second bogey at the second saw McIlroy finish in a tie for sixth place, two shots behind early leader Alex Noren.

The Swede carded a bogey-free 66 to take the outright lead ahead of Brett Rumford, Trevor Fisher Jr, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Peter Hanson.

Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke had held the outright lead at six-under after 13 holes, but the former Open champion played the remaining five in five over to drop back to joint-47th.

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