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Friday, 19 March 2010
Abu Dhabi Golf Championship - Round One  (Getty Images)
Abu Dhabi Golf Championship - Round One (Getty Images)

A blemish free run on the front nine propelled England's Richard Bland into a share of the lead alongside compatriot Oliver Fisher during the early stages of the first round at the inaugural Avantha Masters.

The 37 year old Bland shot birdies on the second, fourth, sixth and ninth to reach the turn in 32 and was four under through ten at DLF Golf and Country Club in New Delhi.

Fisher, meanwhile, who finished a disappointing 125th in The Race to Dubai last year, was four under after 12 holes.

The 21 year old birdied the fourth and though he dropped shot on the next hole, he recovered immediately with birdies on the seventh and ninth before adding gains on the tenth and 12th to join Bland at the top of the leaderboard.

Ben Leong was threatening to join the pair at the top with the Malaysian, who started on the back nine, three under through six and alongside Australian Rick Kulacz, Lam Chih Bing of Singapore and Germany's Marcel Siem.

English duo Richard Finch and Lee Slattery were in a group of six players tied for seventh at two under midway through their rounds.

The Ryder Cup hopeful David Howell was enduring a difficult opening round with the 2006 HSBC Champions winner one over after 14 holes.

Local favourite and World Number 59 Jeev Milkha Singh - the highest ranked player in the field - will get his bid for victory under way in the afternoon.

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