English veteran Barry Lane and South African Louis Oosthuizen were the early leaders of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship as they charged to four under par.
Welshman Stephen Dodd had reeled off four consecutive birdies to set a blistering pace on the opening morning at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Dodd made a slow steady start to his opening circuit around The National Course before charging to a one shot lead over Lane, Italian amateur Matteo Manassero, Oosthuizen and Swede Niclas Fasth.
But dropped shots on the tenth and the 11th saw him slip into a tie for third.
Lane, playing in his 650th European Tour event this week, reached the turn in three under par 33 with a late brace of birdies, while Oosthuizen charged up the early leaderboard with an eagle at the par five eighth.
Both players then birdied their tenth hole to take a joint lead.
Last year Oosthuizen, who finished 12th at the Joburg Open last week, claimed a runner-up finish in Abu Dhabi before going on to complete a brilliant desert swing by adding a another second place in Qatar and a seventh in Dubai.
Manassero made history last June when, aged 16, he became the youngest winner of the British amateur title and is looking to made the most of his sponsors invite this week.
Defending champion Paul Casey made an encouraging start to his bid for a third eagle trophy in four years despite still struggling with the rib problem which blighted his 2009 after joining Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee in a group at two under par.