Rory McIlroy hit just two fairways on Saturday at Emirates Golf Club but finds himself just two shots off the lead halfway through the behind-schedule Hero Dubai Desert Classic.
“I chipped and putted it well, and I sort of, you know, got myself around the golf course OK,” said McIlroy who won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2009 and 2015.
The World No 1 makes first appearance since the DP World Tour Championship in November but wasn’t satisfied with his performance on Saturday.
“Being able to post a couple of decent scores and at least have a chance going into the last two days. But definitely more negatives than positives and need to go and figure it out on the range.”
At 8 under, McIlroy shares seventh with Matt Wallace, Bernd Wiesberger and Patrick Reed.
They are two shots behind co-leaders Thomas Pieters, Richard Bland and Stanford junior Michael Thorbjornsen.
Following a lengthy weather delay play will push the final round to Monday.