Rory McIlroy blows two-shot lead as Li Haotong wins Dubai Desert Classic

• McIlroy makes bogey on 11th and 16th to let early lead slip
• Li shoots tournament record 23-under-par to win title

With eight holes of the Dubai Desert Classic to play, the storyline was set. Rory McIlroy, back at the scene of his first victory as a professional and in the early throes of what he regards as phase two in his golfing life, led by two from Li Haotong. Two hours later, dejection was writ large across McIlroy’s face as Li celebrated the finest win of his fledgling career.

First, to the victor. Li played the event’s final six holes in four under par – and birdied the last two – in what proved a wonderful display of nerveless golf. His winning aggregate of 23 under par is a Desert Classic record. With McIlroy looking on and therefore in a position from which others would have wilted, Li converted from 10ft at the last to take the trophy by one. His Sunday 69 matched McIlroy’s scorecard.

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