As players came off the course yesterday evening — with first rounds finally completed or just a few holes into Round 2 — it was announced by organisers that the Hero Dubai Desert Classic would conclude on Monday for the first time in history. This morning will see the conclusion of Round 2, with the remaining two rounds held on Sunday and Monday.

Sunday ticket-holders will be granted access to the Monday showdown with the clubhouse and Dallah Lounge hospitality open from 10am.

Whatever the Hero Dubai Desert Classic lost in the first days due to adverse weather, it has more than made up for in drama as Friday served up a whole host of talking points to captivate the fans set to descend on Emirates Golf Club this weekend.

From world No. 1 wonder shots from Rory McIlroy and major winner Patrick Reed, from big names prowling to underdog stories in the making, the 2023 edition is shaping up to be another classic slice of the Classic, which has had more than its fair share of epic tales to tell over the past 35 years.

With another belated start after the rain continued to linger throughout the night and into Thursday, the gates opened to the public yesterday, and those who braved the remaining showers were rewarded for their dedication to the game.

McIlroy started things off shortly after the 10am start sending home a sensational eagle from the scrub on the 8th hole (his 17th) to set the early first-round clubhouse lead alongside Reed, who matched his six-under 66.

At the close of the first round, it was a Ryder Cup legend in Ian Poulter who shared the lead on seven-under after a flawless 65 with the hottest new property on the scene — world No. 1 amateur Ludvig Aberg. The dark horses were lining up inside the top 10 with South Africa’s Louis de Jager, who flirted with the course record, and Spain’s Angel Hidalgo also finishing on six-under.

Last week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship winner Victor Perez made sure he stayed in the picture with a five-under 67 alongside birthday boy Thomas Pieters, who claimed the Rolex Series crown on Yas Links last year. Buckle in, fans, as this roller-coaster has a long ride ahead!