Sterne's 62 leads the way
Last updated: 31st January 2013
South African Richard Sterne shot the lowest round of his European Tour career to take the first-round lead at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The 31-year-old, now fully recovered from the back troubles that limited him to only four events in 2010 and six the following year, carded a bogey-free, ten-birdie 62 to lead Scotland's Stephen Gallacher by one shot.
Sterne's compatriot Ernie Els compiled the course record at Emirates Golf Club back in 1992, and Sterne ended up just one shot short of matching it.
"I knew Ernie had shot 61 quite a while ago and always thought it would be impossible to get close, but I got as close as you could," said the leader.
"I couldn't have asked for a better start really. I enjoy this golf course and it shows with the good score today.
"Hopefully I can just keep going and give myself a chance on Sunday when it counts. I do want to win again and that's one of the goals for the year.
"It's been a while since I've won - it's just not that easy to do anymore!"
Gallacher's 63 also equalled his lowest round ever in tournament golf, and included an eagle two at the par-four sixth courtesy of a pinpoint seven iron and another eagle on the 13th. He also made a hat-trick of birdies from the 15th.
"It was a bizarre round," he said "I chipped in and three-putted from six feet - everything was happening. I drove it great and hit a lot of shots close."
Gallacher's compatriots Scott Jamieson is tied for third on seven under par alongside Chris Doak and Tommy Fleetwood.
England's Paul Casey is a shot back on six under after his opening 66 and praised the Emirates greens after his round.
"They are absolutely pure. It's the best-conditioned golf course I've played this year by far.
"The guys are going to go bananas when you have a course as good as this."
Lee Westwood, playing in his first event of the season, opened with a solid 67, but so good was the scoring on the day that he did not even manage to crack the top 10.
Chris Wood and Sergio Garcia, first and second in Qatar last weekend, both opened with 68s.
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