Rory McIlroy’s return to action at the start of 2018 after a three-month break has been full of promise, but after finishing third in Abu Dhabi last week the Northern Irishman had to settle for second place in Dubai. McIlroy was beaten down the stretch by Li Haotong, who birdied four of his last six holes to win by a single stroke.
Li is a player of huge potential, but four-time major winner McIlroy led by two shots after 10 holes and the 5/1 pre-tournament favourite should have gone on from there to secure his first victory since the 2016 Tour Championship.
Nevertheless, the birdies are flowing for McIlroy and he will have high hopes of pushing on to win his first Green Jacket when the major season begins at Augusta in a little over two months’ time – he is the 8/1 co-favourite for The Masters alongside Open champion Jordan Spieth and world number one Dustin Johnson.
The last two winners of the Dubai Desert Classic, Danny Willett in 2016 and Sergio Garcia in 2017, have each gone on to win at Augusta and Li is a 100/1 chance with William Hill to make it a treble this year.
|All odds quoted are subject to change|