Rory McIlroy notches record fourth win at Hero Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy defends his title at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy and trophies make a familiar pairing in Dubai

Getty Images

Rory McIlroy and Dubai. The two go together like heat in the desert.

With a steady close on Sunday at Emirates Golf Club in the UAE, McIlroy completed a weekend charge to defend his title in the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and become the first four-time winner of the DP World Tour event.

His final round of 2-under 70 put McIlroy at 14 under for the week, one shot clear of Adrian Meronk and two ahead of third-round leader Cameron Young. The 34-year-old Northern Irishman had entered the weekend 10 shots back, but a 9-under 63 on Saturday propelled him into Sunday’s final group. 

The win marks the second straight strong showing of the new year for McIlroy, and offers measure of redemption for his near miss last week at the Dubai Desert Invitational, where he stumbled down the stretch and finished runner up to Tommy Fleetwood.

“It’s a great start to the season,” McIlroy said. “I started well last year with the win here. A couple of little things to work on but these weeks are great. You learn a ton from them and obviously great to get the competition and come out on top as well.”

His play on Sunday was not so much spectacular as it was consistent. Beginning the day two shots behind Young, McIlroy took the lead with three front-nine birdies, and then made eight pars and a bogey on his closing nine to hold off Meronk down the stretch. 

“It was one of those days where there wasn’t a ton of fireworks just because the course was so difficult,” McIlroy said. “But I held on as best I could and thankfully no one around the top of the leaderboard made much of run.”

Of McIlroy’s 38 wins as a professional, six have now come in Dubai. This most recent victory also breaks a tie with Ernie Els for most wins in the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, and establishes a personal record for McIlroy, who now has more wins in this event than any other. He has three wins in the Wells Fargo Championship and the Tour Championship.

Josh Sens Editor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.