Rory McIlroy wishes he could 'get a couple of those holes back'

Highlights from the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club

Highlights from the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club

"I'm really happy with how I played today", Hatton said.

No apology necessary. This was a defeat to make a saint swear.

He'll be bitterly disappointed about not seeing the competition out after leading by two shots at the halfway mark.

"I mean, birdieing 10, going two ahead there with Li making bogey, I thought I was in the driver's seat and just a bogey out of nowhere on 11, I just a bad 9-iron there".

A frustrated McIlroy said: "It was a couple of bad shots, a couple of poor decisions, a couple of mental errors, a few tentative putts out there as well". Made him win it in the end, which was all I could do, and he played very well on the way in, birdieing three of the last four.

So, the wait for the next victory goes on and perhaps we now know why McIlroy will hit the Masters in April from a long run-up, with another six events planned before Augusta.

Still, what sustains golfers of McIlroy's standing is tournament glory.

As for the positives, there's plenty of those to seize once the fog of frustration has lifted. The duo was tied for third, three behind the leader at 17 under par. He should have seen out the victory, but he didn't quite calculate for the sheer determination of China's Li Haotong.

See what the super blue blood moon will look like
Global map showing areas of the world that will experience (weather permitting) the January 31, 2018 "super blue blood moon ". People in western Kentucky will just be able to see the total lunar eclipse as the moon sets on the horizon.

McIlroy and Li both shot a modest three-under over the 18 holes.

"He holed everything he sort of needed to", McIlroy said.

Li and McIlroy's nearest challenger during the final round came from Tyrrell Hatton, who carded a bogey-free 66 to finish three strokes off the pace in third.

Beginning the day with a one-shot lead, Li lost his advantage by finding the sand twice on his way to an opening-hole bogey, as McIlroy recovered from a stray tee shot to save par.

The Northern Irishman rallied over the final two holes. From there, he chipped through the green, before getting up and down for bogey. His winning aggregate of 23 under par is a Desert Classic record. And also on 18, I didn't think I would make that one, either.

Kodaira set the course record at the Pun Hlaing Golf Club with a 63 but his impressive display could not help him overtake Peterson. With good reason, he has picked up a witty nickname: Howlong Li. He proved that was no fluke with a third-place finish in last year's Open Championship. Talk about a man with a hot hand.

For Poulter, this was his highest finish in a regular European Tour event since he was runner-up at the Turkish Airlines Open way back in November, 2014.

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