Two-time winner Rory McIlroy stormed into the lead as the delayed second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic was completed this morning.
McIlroy was left with seven holes to play after fog held up play for two hours and 50 minutes on Friday and resumed three shots behind Welshman Jamie Donaldson.
But the four-time major winner quickly closed in on his 2014 Ryder Cup team-mate by starting the day with back-to-back birdies at the 12th and 13th before making three gains on the spin to finish to move into a two-shot lead.
McIlroy signed for a second-round 64 to sit on 15-under, making him a combined 33-under for the six rounds he’s played since returning following a three-month break.
The 28-year-old finished joint-third behind Tommy Fleetwood in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last weekend and now has his sights on repeating his 2009 and 2015 wins at Emirates Golf Club.
“That was pretty nice,” said McIlroy of his early morning work. “I knew with the condition this morning there was chances out there with two par 5s and 17 (a driveable par-4).
“But obviously to take care of those and to finish five-under for my last seven was a nice way to finish this morning.
“I just wanted to go out there and play a good seven holes and hopefully get myself into contention for the last couple of rounds.
“I did that and maybe a little bit more and it’s nice to go into the weekend in the lead.”
McIlroy is chasing a first victory in 16 months, having gone without a win last season as he struggled with a rib injury for the first time since 2008.
Three Scots joined the Ulsterman in the final two rounds, with McIlroy’s fellow two-time winner, Stephen Gallacher, digging deep to stay in his favourite event.
The 43-year-old resumed his round on one-under, having finished on Friday on a low note after dropping shots at the sixth and seventh on Friday.
But a burst of four birdies in five holes from the 11th, having been left with nine holes to play, secured his place alongside Scott Jamieson and Richie Ramsay in the final two rounds.
Jamieson and Ramsay had both completed their second rounds on Friday to sit six and five-under respectively.
After an agonising overnight wait, Connor Syme missed out by a shot on four-under, as did Paul Lawrie after he signed for a 72 when finishing off this morning.
Despite a 69, former winner Colin Montgomerie fell two shots short with Marc Warren finishing on one-over.