Four-way tie in Dubai
Four players share the lead after the first round of the European Tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
Marcus Fraser, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter and Andy Sullivan all opened with six-under-par 66s in the first round to sit at the top of a congested leaderboard at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
The Race to Dubai also heated up as current leader Rory McIlroy opened with a 68, which was matched by closest rival and playing partner Danny Willett.
Branden Grace, one of the seven men who can still become Europe's number one, also opened with a 68.
None of the four leaders are in with a shout for the Race to Dubai, but all have their own personal goals to achieve.
Poulter is eager to ensure he stays in the world's top 50, having briefly dropped out a couple of weeks ago, while Kaymer is still searching for his first win since his US Open triumph last year.
Fraser, meanwhile, is still finding his feet after missing most of the season with a hand injury.
"Dropping outside the top 50 isn't very nice," said Poulter, who made six birdies in a bogey-free round. "Being down the list on the Order of Merit is not very nice.
"And wanting to put some points on the board for Ryder Cup would definitely be very helpful.
"So it's been a long five weeks, and it would be nice to finish strong."
Only Sullivan has a good season by his own standards, and is eyeing a fourth win this week. He played alongside Kaymer on the day and both seemed to profit from the pairing.
"It was just great fun out there today," Sullivan told Europeantour.com. "Me and Martin both played really well, so it was good to have both of us pulling each other along, one get in front of the other, and both finishing six under.
"But I'm swinging it really well on the range and I just said to myself, 'I'm the only person that can mess this up'. I just thought, 'go out there and enjoy it like I normally do and be mentally good'.
"On the whole, I'm really happy with where we stand."
Kaymer added: "We all know this is one of my favourite places where The European Tour goes; Abu Dhabi, Dubai.
"It seems like I do well here usually and I've had great success in the past, whether it's in Abu Dhabi winning a tournament or winning The European Tour rankings here in 2010.
"So for me coming to this part of the world is always a great pleasure."
Of the remaining Race to Dubai contenders, Byeong-hun An fared best with a 70, while Justin Rose opened with a 71.
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