Belgium’s Thomas Pieters has taken a one-shot lead after round one of the 2020 Omega Dubai Desert Classic with a solid 67, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
The world No 84, who like the majority of the field enjoyed a low back nine, carded eight birdies while making a double-bogey and a bogey on the 1st and 2nd hole, respectively.
Pieters used the firm greens to his advantage and after the early morning wind died down as the day progressed, the 27-year-old, who came home on the front nine, managed to keep his score low at times when the other players were struggling.
South Africa’s Shaun Norris was one of those players who didn’t manage to keep his cool while also finishing on the front nine.
A nasty triple-bogey on the ninth had him heading into the clubhouse on three under after taking an early lead on Thursday morning.
He is alongside countryman Dean Burmester, who has had a difficult start to the year, in T3 and in a good position to make a move up the leaderboard on Friday.
Burmester would’ve taken a lot of confidence from his first-round 69 and will be hoping to get his season back on track at the competition.
The 18-year-old Jayden Schaper, who is competing as an amateur, made a very good start to his campaign with a first-round 71. He is on one under and level with Louis Oosthuizen, Zander Lombard and Justin Harding.
The 2017 Alfred Dunhill Championship winner David Lipsky also made an impressive start to his competition, though.
The American went four under for the day and will start the second round in second place and very much in contention for a big score.
Last week’s winner at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Lee Westwood, had a rather forgettable day and will have to produce something special to make the cut for the weekend.
The Englishman had a tough day out on the Dubai Golf Course, shooting a six over 78 to finish the round in T113.