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A star-studded field at the Dubai Desert Classic has set up a great weekend of golf in the Middle East. Some of the biggest names in the sport, in the hunt after two rounds of play at the Emirates Golf Club. But they are chasing the defending champion from Northern Ireland.
The large Friday crowds in Dubai saw an outstanding day of golf.
This birdie from Tiger Woods at the fourth was one of six birdies in his bogey-free round which also included this great approach into the sixth, one of the toughest holes on the course.
Woods carded a seven under 66...moving him four off the pace heading into the weekend.
Tiger Woods said, "I hit the ball better today, felt like I had more control over my shots, more control of my trajectory today. We had some clean greens, which was nice. The greens were perfect this morning so I think all of us made a few more putts."
South Africa's Thomas Aiken, who has had a consistent season, was also going along well.
A birdie putt at the eighth helped him to a 67 to sit at ten under par, enough to hold the lead for most of the afternoon.
McIlroy leads in Dubai
The afternoon crowds devoted their attention to Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy and they saw the old Sergio. The Spaniard hasn't dropped a shot in two days - this was his tee-shot at the 15th so close to a hole-in-one...he would tap in for birdie. A 67 for Garcia has him with Aiken at ten-under-par..one back of this man.
The winner from two years ago, Rory McIlroy is in front again in Dubai. His tee shot at the 15th, also setting up a birdie. He would go on to shoot 68, good enough for an 11 under total to give the 21 year old the lead.
Rory McIlroy said, "Yeah they were perfect for the first sort of seven or eight holes, and then it started getting a little windier just as we reached the turn. You know, I played some of my best golf on the back nine, so I was happy with that - (I) didn't get off to the best of starts, it was a little slow but, you know, stayed patient and picked my birdies off and was happy with four under par."
Certainly a crowded leaderboard, and an exciting weekend ahead at the Dubai Desert Classic.