Rory McIlroy stormed into a six-shot lead over Luke Donald after day one of the Dubai World Championship after a shaky start.
It’s a must win tournament for the Northern Irishmen and he must hope Englishman Donald finishes outside the top nine to end the year top of the European rankings.
McIlroy dropped two shots on the second hole but six birdies on the back nine moved him to six under par, two behind leader Peter Hanson.
World number one Donald, who has the chance to become the first golfer in history to win both the European and American money titles, finished the day in a tie for 26th place.
After the first nine holes McIlroy was three behind Donald and seven shots off the lead.
But Donald hit a wayward drive into bushes on the 14th and had to chip out to safety before dropping a shot and that slip was followed by two more bogeys.
Donald’s driving wasn’t up to his usual standard today, and he will have to put that right on the range if he’s got any chance if stopping a buoyant McIlroy.
McIlroy, who won in Hong Kong last week, started his revival with a birdie on the 10th and finished carding five birdies in his last six holes.