Thirty-one year old South African Richard Sterne fired a -10 under par 62 on Thursday to take a one stroke lead in the Omega Desert Classic. His opening round 62 on the par 72 Emirates Golf Course in Dubai was one shot short of the 61 carded by Ernie Els 19 years ago, and more importantly only one shot better than Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher who put up a 63 on the day. The 39-year old Gallacher had a nice round, and has a two shot lead over a group of three tied at -7 under par.
Sterne, who has a world ranking of 165th, and is 56th in Race To Dubai points shot a bogey free round, and had five birdies on the front, and five on the back. He ended his round with a hat trick of birdies starting on the 16th hole. Richard Sterne from Pretoria, back playing a full schedule after a back problem limited him to only four events in 2010 and six the following season. He has five victories on the European tour.
Gallacher’s 63 equaled his lowest Tour round in 398 events, only one of which – the 2004 Dunhill Links at St Andrews – has ended in victory. He had a more adventurous day, with two bogeys in his first round, but cancelled them out with two eagles. Steven Gallacher, who is a career journeyman, on the European Tour has one victory, and one victory on the Challenge Tour. He is currently ranked 111th in the world, and is 139th in race To Dubai points.
Scott Jamieson, who won the Nelson Mandela in the season kickoff tournament had finished well in all of the South African tournaments, finishing T 3 in the Alfred Dunhill Classic, and a solid second at the Volvo Championship. He hasn’t done well since the tour has moved to the desert, but is still leading the field in Race To Dubai points. He shares third place with Tommy Fleetwood from England, and Chris Doak from Scotland.
Lee Westwood got his 2013 season underway on Thursday, and opening with -5 under 67, is in a tie at 12th place. Westwood showed some rust on his game, making only three birdies and an eagle in his first round, but the good news was he made no bogeys. Westwood, who is ranked number 8 in the world moved his residence to West Palm Beach in Florida in an attempt to have a place to practice during the off-season. He thinks getting an early jump on the season will give him a better chance at winning that first elusive major.
59 year old Mark O’Meara is in the field at Dubai this week, and matched Westwood’s 67 to share the tie for 12th place with nine other golfers. Other Americans in the field are Todd Hamilton, and Ben Curtis. Hamilton is T64 at -2 under par, and Curtis one over par, and in danger of missing the cut.
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