RORY MCLLROY overcame a strong challenge by rival Patrick Reed on Monday morning to win the Dubai Desert Classic.
The Hollywood native ranked number one in the world birdied the final two holes to shoot a four-under 68 and finish on 19 under to win by one shot.
The 33-year-old went into the final day three shots ahead of Reed; however, the American produced a stunning display with six shots in his first 11 holes to reel Mcllroy back in.
Mcllroy then recorded three birdies and, after the American birdied 18 to draw level. He holed a 20-footer to go top of the leader board.
Reed finished the day with a final round par 65 -18 and waited for Mcllroy to finish the round.
After this The Northern Irishman with all to do on the 18th rolled in a birdie putt to overtake Reed in the standings and win the Dubai Desert Classic on Monday morning.
It means a lot, "McIlroy said. "It was a battle all day, it's been a battle all week. I really feel I haven't had my best all week, but I just managed my game so well and played really smart.
"Just ecstatic that I gave myself an opportunity the first week back out and there's tonnes of room for improvement but it's a great start to the year."
AND HE'S DONE IT!!!!
A winning start for Rory McIlroy 🏆 pic.twitter.com/8d2Q3s54K4
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) January 30, 2023
Mcllroy, who has been embroiled in a war of words with Reed this week, so the result for Mcllroy will even sweeter.
Reed, who joined LIV Golf in his debut year threw a tee towards McIlroy after being snubbed by him on the practice range this week.
McIlroy said he had not seen the tee but had not been impressed at being subpoenaed on Christmas Eve by the lawyer who is standing for Reed in a defamation lawsuit against several media members and organisations, although McIlroy's subpoena relates to a separate suit filed by Larry Klayman.
Adding further on the day and what it meant, the World number one said, "Mentally today was probably one of the toughest rounds I've ever had to play because it would be really easy to let your emotions get in the way and I just really had to concentrate on focusing on myself, forget who was up there on the leader board and I did that really, really well," McIlroy added on Sky Sports.
This was a third title in Dubai for McIlroy.