World number one Rory McIlroy has hailed his mental strength after a dramatic win over rival Patrick Reed in Dubai Desert Classic.
Mcllory birdied the final two holes to shoot a four-under 68 and finish on 19 under to win by one shot.
The Northern Irishman went into the final day at the Emirates Golf Club with a three-shot lead but Reed who was a further shot back on Sunday picked up six shots in his first 11 holes to wipe out that advantage.
McIlroy then had to respond with three birdies and holed a 20-footer to claim the classic.
"I think mentally today was probably one of the toughest rounds I've ever had to play," said the four-time major winner immediately after his victory.
"It would be really easy to let your emotions get in the way.
"I just had to really concentrate on focusing on myself and forget who was up there [Reed] on the leaderboard, and I did that really, really well. I feel like I showed a lot of mental strength out there today.
"I'm going to enjoy this. This is probably sweeter than it should be or needs to be, but I feel like I've still got some stuff to work on.
"You know, as I said, it's a great start to the year and a really good foundation to work from."
?️ "It's was one of the toughest rounds I've ever had to play. I showed a lot of mental strength today."
Rory McIlroy discusses his focus this week after the incident with Patrick Reed. pic.twitter.com/qSOXb8HKBZ— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) January 30, 2023
The world No 1's victory makes him a three-time winner of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and also marks the first time he has won his opening start of a calendar year.