McIlroy runs out of steam in Dubai

U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy finally ran out of gas.

Afer winning in Hong Kong to keep the European title battle

alive with No. 1-ranked Luke Donald, a shaky third-round 71 on

Saturday left the 22-year-old McIlroy six shots off the lead at the

Dubai World Championship.

McIlroy needs to win the tournament, and hope Donald finishes

outside the top nine. Even McIlroy admitted that was unlikely,

considering he is six shots behind leader Alvaro Quiros and Donald

has moved into fourth spot.

”I’m tired. I’m very tired,” McIlroy said. ”You know, I don’t

really want to say that that’s the cause of playing the way I did

on the front nine because I came back on 4-under on the back nine.

Yeah, as I have been saying all week and last week, I’m not 100

percent but that shouldn’t stop me from going out and playing good

golf.”

It sure didn’t last week. After complaining of fatigue during

two average rounds at the Hong Kong Open, McIlroy came from behind

on Sunday to win the tournament. He clinched it in dramatic fashion

when he holed a shot from a green side bunker.

Still, there is no ignoring that McIlroy has looked run down at

times this week.

On Friday he said the fatigue he’d felt for the past several

weeks may be the lingering effects of dengue fever. McIlroy said he

got blood test results back Thursday that showed his white blood

cell count remained low and that he may pull out of next week’s

Thailand Golf Championship.

The No. 2-ranked McIlroy believes he picked up a ”mild case of

dengue fever” when he was playing tournaments in South Korea or

China at the end of October and early November. Dengue fever is

spread by mosquitoes, generally in tropical areas, and can cause

fever, rash and joint pain.

McIlroy, who lost ”maybe three or four kilos” when he was

sick, said he would see the doctor later Saturday to determine

whether he would play the Thai tournament.

Asked about the role his busy schedule in recent months played

in his health woes, McIlroy said it had worn him down but that he

had no regrets about playing the World Cup in China with countryman

Graeme McDowell.

”It was touch and go whether I was going to play. I wanted to

play because it was a big deal for me and G-Mac,” he said. ”It

was something we were really excited about most of the year.

”As much as maybe I shouldn’t have played, I didn’t want to let

him down.”

McIlroy said he just needed plenty of rest to fully recover.

”The last couple of weeks have taken a lot out of me after not

giving myself enough time to recover straight after the illness,”

he said. ”It just sort of hit me in the last sort or 10

days.”