Luke Donald fired a -7 under par 65 on Thursday to grab the first round lead at the season ending DP World Championship in Dubai. Donald had a bogey free walk through the Jumeirah Golf Estates that included three birdies on the front nine to go along with four on the back. He came to Dubai in eighth place on the Race To Dubai points list, and is second in World Rankings. Luke Donald has a one stroke lead over four players at -6 under par, including world number one Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy got off to a slow start with a lone birdie four at the par 5 second hole on the front nine, and seemed to wake up on the backside. after birdies on the 10th and 12th holes, he went on a run at 14, and birdied three in a row. He was looking for a piece of the lead when he hit his drive on the par 5 18 hole into one of the meandering streams that run through the course. After a drop, he made par, and remained one stroke back.
Two other golfers are tied with McIlroy at -6 under, and include Gonzalo Fdez-Costano from Spain, and Marc Warren from Scotland. Fdez-Costano, like McIlroy, got off to a slow start and shot even par, but came alive on the back nine with all six of his birdies. He birdied out from the 16th hole to post his 66. Warren played steady all day, but dropped a shot at the par 3 thirteenth hole.
A large group at -5 under par two strokes back include Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Richie Ramsay from Scotland, 2010 PGA Champion Martin Kaymer, Padraig Harrington, and Fredrik Andersson Hed. Oosthuizen, who is the highest ranking player in this group at 4th in RTD points also had a bogey free first round to shoot his 67. Westwood bogeyed the first hole, and went on to shoot a nice round including two birdies to finish his day at 17 and 18. Andersson Hed, who has been hanging around the leader board for the past couple of weeks was also bogey free on the day.
New PGA member Nicolas Colsaerts leads a very large group tied for 11th place, three strokes behind Donald including notables former Masters Champ Charl Schwartzel, last week winner at the SA Open Henrik Stenson, and Justin Rose. Number two in RTD points, Peter Hanson shot an opening round -3 under 69, and is tied for 21st place.
HSB Hong Kong Open winner, Miguel Angel Jimenez opened up at -1 under par with a double bogey seven at the 18th hole. Ian Poulter is at even par, and Barclays Singapore Open winner Matteo Manassero fell on hard times, and is one over par.
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