Shane Lowry with a share of the lead as Rory McIlroy loses ground in Dubai
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Dubai – A sloppy double-bogey on the final hole cost Rory McIlroy the halfway lead at the DP World Tour Championship as former British Open champion Shane Lowry led a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard in Dubai on Friday.
McIlroy started the day two shots clear of the rest and looked set to preserve that advantage until he found the water on the 18th to card a two-under 70 that placed him one shot off the lead at the European Tour's season-ending event.
The Northern Irishman was tied for fourth place alongside Sweden's Alexander Bjork.
Lowry, who made five birdies and an eagle for an impressive 65, was joined at the top by American John Catlin and Englishman Sam Horsfield at 10-under for the tournament.
"I feel like my game is in good shape and I know how to play here. I'm happy to be top of the leaderboard, late tee time tomorrow and I'm looking forward to the weekend," said Lowry, who was part of the European Ryder Cup team that lost to the United States in September.
Catlin, thrice a winner on the European Tour, was one of the big movers on Friday, firing five birdies on the back nine en route to his 65.
"It's definitely nice to be able to look yourself in the mirror and say, 'I've been here before and I can do it again'. That kept me steady here on the back nine," said the 31-year-old.
World number two Collin Morikawa stayed in contention with a four-under 68 and had two-times major winner Martin Kaymer for company, with both players two shots back.