McIlroy has three Top-10s in his last six events.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Rory McIlroy shot an 8-under 64 Thursday to take the early lead at the fog-delayed Dubai Desert Classic.
The 19-year-old Northern Irishman had nine birdies on the Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club to lead Robert Karlsson (65) by one.
The start was delayed for 2 hours, 40 minutes because of fog.
With defending champion Tiger Woods missing from the tournament, Ernie Els is the favorite. Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood are also in the field.