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Published: 14:57 | 5/2/16

Rory McIlroy battles back with late birdies in Dubai

McIlroy tossed his ball into the water after three-putting the fourth

Rory McIlroy struggled to contain his frustration as he threw his ball into the water during his second round of the Dubai Desert Classic on Friday.

McIlroy, who ended the day six shots behind leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello, tossed his ball into the water after three-putting the fourth.

The defending champion made four bogeys on the front nine and he slipped to level par with a fifth on the 11th as he looked in danger of missing the cut.

However, he recovered to salvage his round with a string of brilliant birdies on the 13th, 16th, 17th and 18th to record an even-par round of 72.

"I struggled in the wind a little bit. I didn't get off to the best of starts again. The middle of the round was tough but I bounced back well and persevered and got something out of the round."

"I was definitely thinking about (missing the cut), especially over the putt on 12," McIlroy told the European Tour website.

"If I missed that and went one over for the tournament it would have been a long way back.

"I've come back from bigger deficits than this and if I can get off to a faster start tomorrow, you never know."

2012 winner Cabrera-Bello carded a second consecutive 67 to lead by one ahead of Danny Willett (65), Trevor Fisher Jnr (68) and Ernie Els (67) who are tied for second on nine under.

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