Luke Donald carded a seven-under-par 65 to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the DP World Tour Championship.
Luke Donald carded a seven-under-par 65 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Coming off the back of a win in Japan last week, Donald continued his good run against the top money-winners on the European Tour.
World number one Rory McIlroy is one of three players a shot back, with Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen among those two shots off the pace.
Donald got his round off to a solid start as he birdied the fifth, seventh and eighth to take the turn in 33. Four birdies in the next five holes followed before the Englishman saw out the remainder of the round with pars.
Playing in the last group of the day, McIlroy started slowly, with a four at the par five second his only birdie on the front nine. The Northern Irishman came to life on the closing nine though, notching up five birdies including a run of three on the trot from 14 to 16.
Marc Warren and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño join McIlroy on six-under, with Warren looking for his first win since 2007.
“There was no wind to speak of and the greens were pure. I felt as if I hit a lot of good golf,” the Scot said of his round.
“Winning is the most fun you can have at a golf tournament and it’s something I want to do again soon,” he added.
Tied in fourth place on five-under are 2009 winner Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, Richie Ramsay, Louis Oosthuizen and Fredrik Andersson Hed.
While the scoring was free for many, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia – who is making his return from eye surgery – struggled to rounds of 73.