by Jeff Skinner
Pardon the pun but things are heating up in the desert. At the Omega Dubai Desert Classic world number two, Rory McIlroy has found his stride and shares the lead with the rejuvenated Thomas Bjorn at thirteen under par. McIlroy and Bjorn have matching rounds of 66 and 65 and hold a one stroke lead over opening round leader Rafael Cabrera-Bello. World number four, Martin Kaymer is two strokes back.
McIlroy looks to be off to a fast start this season as he finished second at Abu Dhabi two weeks ago. He is poised to overtake Luke Donald as the top golfer in the world and with the exception of Tiger Woods is the most popular golfer not only on both the PGA Tour and the Euro Tour, but in the entire world.
Before Rory can ascend to number one in the world he’ll have to get by this very strong field. Going stroke for stroke with McIlroy is the veteran Bjorn. The 41 year old Swede is well liked among his fellow European Tour players and has turned his career around recently. After last winning in 2006 he broke through for a win in 2010 in Portugal. He had a prolific season in 2011 as he found his game and won three European Tour victories to bring his total to 13. His was an amazing comeback and very well received by his fellow players. Bjorn could be the Euro Tour’s Vijay Singh and earn more wins as he progresses into his forties.
With the big names near the top of the leaderboard at Dubai the scene is set for an intriguing finish.