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Published: 18:25 | 23/1/16

Superb finish delights McIlroy

Late birdie and eagle for Rory

Rory McIlroy completed his second round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in spectacular style, having struggled to make progress for much of the outing.

Over the opening 15 holes of his round, which was completed on Saturday due to a fog delay, McIlroy shot all pars, aside from a bogey at the par-four ninth.

However, after missing a short putt for a gain at the 16th, the Northern Irishman scored a birdie-three on 17th, coming within inches of holing a 100-yard effort for an eagle.

The world number three got his eagle at the par-five last, having very nearly holed his second-stroke approach for what would have been a stunning Albatross.

McIlroy's 70 brought him to eight-under-par for the tournament and into a tie for second place with United States amateur Bryson DeChambeau, who had produced a magnificent 64 on the opening day, with England's Andy Sullivan two shots clear at the top of the leaderboard.

McIlroy said after his round: "I knew that I needed something, I wanted to finish well and I knew 18 was a chance, and 17 was playing downwind.

"So, I knew that I had a couple of good chances, but I didn't quite expect to do it on 18 there. That was a nice way to finish."

Speaking of coming close to a two on the 18th, the 26-year-old commented: "I've been close before but never had an albatross. It looked pretty close from back there. I'm not sure how close it did come to going in but I'm just happy to finish with an eagle like that and get myself up the leaderboard and stay within touching distance of the leaders.

"(It was an) average round to be fair but that's the thing - even when you're not really at your best, to be able to come away with a 70 and still keep (up with) the leaders, I'm really happy with that."

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