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Rory McIlroy Scores His First Win of the Year at the Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy was on fire throughout 2022, and he’s carrying that same kind of energy into 2023. The Irish golfer kicked the year off with an epic win at the Dubai Desert Classic, where he lifted the trophy after defeating Patrick Reed. McIlroy kicked off the tournament leading three shots overnight, but his chances didn’t look so great after Reed picked up six shots in his first 11 holes. McIlroy eventually managed to make a comeback and birdied the final two holes to win by one shoot. The Dubai Desert Classic was dramatic for both players, and their rivalry reached a boiling point. Reed made headlines last week after tossing a LIV Golf shirt in McIlroy’s direction, and later called him “an immature little child." McIlroy was very vocal about his opposition to LIV Golf and reportedly ignored Reed on the driving range after he joined the league. McIlroy tried to rise above the drama following his win but acknowledged the fact it impacted his performance in Dubai. "Mentally it was very tough. I felt like I could have let my emotions get in the way of what I was trying to do because of who was up there on the leaderboard. I expended a lot of mental energy just trying to focus on myself,” McIlroy told BBC Sport.