McIlroy: One of those days
Rory McIlroy reflected on "one of those days" after his challenge for a second Dubai Desert Classic title petered out on the final day.
The two-time major champion failed to rediscover the form of his stunning, first-round 63 as he laboured to a closing 74 to finish four shots behind Stephen Gallacher.
The Northern Irishman grafted out six pars to begin his final round, but he bogeyed the next and his hopes effectively ended with three dropped shots in four holes after the turn.
"It was just one of those days," he said. "I think anything that sort of could go wrong did.
"Okay I hit a couple of loose drives, but I didn't really get away with them or stuff like that.
"The golf course played a lot differently today, the greens were a lot firmer. On the rare occasions I got the ball close, I didn't make any putts, so it was one of those days.
"I was struggling to read the greens for some reason, so I got (caddie) JP (Fitzgerald) to read them for me on the back nine and holed a couple more.
"When the greens get this firm they change colour a little bit and it was very hard to see. Everything I read was straight even though it wasn't - I just couldn't see any movement at all.
"I thought if I could get to 16 under it would be good enough and it turned out that it was as that's what Stephen got to.
"I just wasn't able to play well enough to get there."
Defending champion Gallacher played the first two rounds alongside McIlroy and Tiger Woods, and the Scot believes McIlroy will soon be challenging to reclaim his world No 1 ranking from the American.
"His first round was unbelievable," Gallacher said. "I shot 66 and it felt like 75. His ball flight is just phenomenal. I've never played with anyone who flights it as good as him.
"I think he'll soon be contending with Tiger for the number one spot. He's a class player."