Reed leads in Dubai, Rose makes a statement

European Tour

Patrick Reed grabbed the lead on the opening day of the DP World Tour Championship – but Race to Dubai contender Justin Rose lies just one shot behind.

American Reed was flawless around the Jumeirah Golf Estates course in Dubai on Thursday, signing for a bogey-free seven-under-par 65, enough for a one stroke lead over Rose and Australian Scott Hend. 

Reed, who is coming off a disastrous missed cut at the OHL Classic in Mexico, also woke up with shoulder pain and was not optimistic before he teed off.

But the world number 23 triumphed over adversity as he backed up his two gains on the front nine with a five birdies coming home, including draining a ten footer after laying up on the dangerous 18th.

"I feel like the hard work I did with my coach right after Mexico really paid off coming to this week," said the 27-year-old after the round.

"I felt like the swing was right where it needed to be and I woke up this morning and had this really awful pain in my back, close to my shoulder.

"The warm-up wasn't how I wanted. I was kind of spraying it and then my caddie just looked at me and reminded me, 'Hey, you're a gamer, not a range guy. Let's get off to a good start, hit some fairways and hit some greens.'

"Any time you can start birdie, birdie it gets you started and I was able to right the ship and make some putts and hit some good shots."

Meanwhile, Rose, who claimed the silverware on his last two outings, showed that he has not lost any form, going five under on the back nine on the way to a 66. The Englishman reached the par five 14th in two and putted for an eagle.

A third win in a row would guarantee Rose the Race to Dubai title, while a solo fifth and higher would give him a chance to pip leader Tommy Fleetwood.  

Fleetwood did himself few favours with an opening 73 that leaves him seven shots behind Rose. The other Race to Dubai contender – Sergio Garcia – gave himself a fighting chance with an opening two-under 70, although Rose is clearly the man in the driving seat for the title now.

Further down the leaderboard, the chasing pack consists of a plethora of players on four under, including defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, France’s alexander Levy and rising star Paul Dunne.

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