Patrick Reed ahead of Rory McIlroy after damp Dubai Classic first round

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Patrick Reed fared higher than Rory McIlroy after some pre-tournament friction because the Dubai Desert Basic received off to a moist begin on Thursday, with solely 11 gamers managing to complete their weather-affected first rounds.

Play solely started on the European tour occasion after a delay of six hours attributable to heavy in a single day rain that left the course unplayable at Emirates Golf Membership.

By the point the siren sounded to droop play due to fading gentle, Reed was 4-under-par after 16 holes and top-ranked McIlroy was 2-under, having performed 15 holes.

Thomas Pieters was main at 5-under, although he additionally had three holes to play. Three English gamers: Matthew Jordan, Daniel Gavins and Oliver Wilson, held the clubhouse lead after capturing rounds of 4-under 68.

It is definitely unusual round right here, Jordan mentioned of the moist circumstances, to see water hazards and stuff in locations that you do not count on it to be.

Reed and McIlroy traded barbs Wednesday after an interplay of types on the observe vary on Tuesday that noticed McIlroy snub Reed, who had gone over to want the Northern Irishman a cheerful new 12 months. Reed walked away after tossing a tee that includes a brand of his 4 Aces workforce within the LIV Golf league within the route of McIlroy, probably the most vocal critics of the Saudi-run breakaway sequence.

Reed mentioned it was unlucky that McIlroy did not shake his hand and was quoted as describing McIlroy as an immature little baby.

It has set the scene for a possible on-course head-to-head in Dubai between two of golfs most high-profile gamers. It did not come Thursday, with McIlroy beginning at No. 10 in his first occasion of 2023 and Reed opening on the first gap.

McIlroy bogeyed two of his first six holes after leaving chips from the perimeter brief. He received up and down from a greenside bunker for birdie at No. 18, picked up extra photographs at No. 2 and three, and was lining up a birdie putt from inside 4 ft on No. 7 when the siren went off.

Reed birdied three of his first 5 holes and rebounded from a bogey at No. 10 by holing brief birdie putts at Nos. 12 and 14.

Tommy Fleetwood (15 holes) and Victor Perez (16 holes), who gained the Abu Dhabi Championship final week, have been additionally on 4-under after they needed to go away the course.

Half the sector had but to get on the course and can begin their first rounds Friday. Gamers have been knowledgeable within the early hours of Thursday morning that Emirates Golf Membership was inaccessible and instructed to not journey to the course as a result of a number of roads being flooded following heavy rain.

Play lastly received underway following a couple of hours of dry climate and an enormous cleanup operation by floor workers.

It is robust, Jordan mentioned. I imply, it was good to see that at 5.20 a.m. I might roll again over in mattress and have a lie-in. In order that was good.

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