Rory McIlroy rues missed chances after runner-up finish in Dubai

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By : Ali Stafford

Rory McIlroy was left regretting a series of back-nine errors after missing out on Omega Dubai Desert Classic victory.

The four-time major champion found himself holding a two-shot cushion with eight holes to play at Emirates Golf Club and in pole position for a third victory in the event, only lose his lead along the closing stretch.

McIlroy bogeyed the 11th and posted a three-putt par at the 13th, before a stray tee shot and another blemish at the 16th allowed Haotong Li to leapfrog him at the top of the leaderboard.

Li then birdied his final two holes to close a three-under 69 and claim a one-shot victory, leaving McIlroy having to settle for second and extending his search for a first win since September 2016.

"I thought I was obviously in the driver's seat," McIlroy said. "Then just a bogey out of nowhere on 11 - just a bad nine iron there - and the three-putt on 13.

"Those were the two key holes of the tournament, really, even though there was a bad tee shot on 16. But I tried until the very end and made two good birdies.

"I made him win it in the end, which was all I could do. He played very well on the way in, birdieing three of the last four. I just wish I could get a couple of those holes back."

A runner-up finish sees McIlroy move back inside the world's top 10 and maintains the Northern Irishman's encouraging start to the year, following on from a tied-third finish at last week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

"If someone had told me at the start of the year you'd finish third and second your first two events, I'd take that," McIlroy added.

"Being in the positions I've been in and having two close calls the first couple of weeks of the year, it's a little difficult. The competitor in me is very disappointed right now. I always want to win, and I just didn't do enough when I needed to."

Highlights from Haotong Li final round at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic 2018

Highlights from Rory McIlroy final round at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic 2018
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