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McIlroy flying in Dubai while Mickelson struggles in Phoenix

Rory McIlroy took another huge leap towards recapturing the form which made him famous on the golf course – with his lowest score in more than four years – a 9-under 63 while playing with Tiger Woods. The Northern Irishman currently holds a 2-shot lead in Dubai.

McIlroy played bogey-free in good scoring conditions on the Maglis course at Emirates Golf Club, picking up six birdies and an eagle during a 10-hole stretch in the middle of his round. McIlroy also managed to upstage Woods, who was left 5 shots behind after a 68.

Edoardo Molinari achieved an eagle on the par-4 second hole as he made his way to a respectable 65, while the group at 66 included Stephen Gallacher (defending champion) who is also playing in the feature group with Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

Mickelson Struggles in Phoenix

Phil Mickelson said he would defend his championship in the Phoenix Open despite injuring his back recently – and that’s what he’s doing – although it would appear his back is in better shape than his game right now.

After withdrawing from Torrey Pines last Friday due to pain in his back, Mickelson opened his title defence with a decent even-par 71 at TPC Scottsdale which has left him 7 strokes behind Bubba Watson and Y.E Yang.

Mickelson is putting a brave face on things, however, and said: "My back is fine. My game was a little rusty.

"I got off to a poor start, played a couple over, and finished poorly. In the middle of the round, though, I hit a lot of good shots and had a good little run, but it just wasn't quite sharp. I wasn't quite focused on every shot the way I need to be and let way too many shots slide."