Oliver Wilson and Marcel Siem joined clubhouse leader Robert Karlsson in a tie for the lead on the opening day of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy.
Former European Number One Karlsson set the opening day pace with a first round four under par 68 in testing windy conditions at Doha Golf Club, establishing a two shot lead over Camilo Villegas and Sergio Garcia.
But with the blustery conditions easing slightly for the afternoon starters, Siem reached the turn in a flawless 36 despite playing the traditionally tougher front nine, while Wilson made his move with two gains in three holes after the turn.
“The course is set up very difficult so I am happy with the round especially given the conditions. I hit all the greens and had a lot of long putts, but that’s what you have to when’s it’s windy so I am very happy,” said Karlsson.
“The weather makes it harder not the course - it is set up very fair and it is in a great condition.”
Karlsson, starting on the back nine, made a slow start but kicked his round to life courtesy of a touch of fortune as an eight iron approach over the water at the sixth took a fortunate bounce and rolled in for an eagle two from 182 yards.
An eight foot birdie putt a hole later left Karlsson two behind early pacesetter Louis Oosthuizen, but while the South African struggled on the front nine, the Swede added two further birdies with his only blemish a three putt bogey at the seventh.
Colombian Villegas was disappointed to ship his only shot of the day on the final green, while World Number 14 Garcia was pleased to card just two bogeys.
“I feel like I played decent, hit two or three terrible shots, but other than that it was a good day,” said the Spaniard.
“Obviously the course is playing very difficult with the wind and the firmness of the greens.”
Race to Dubai winner Lee Westwood, playing with a new set of irons this week after missing the cut in Abu Dhabi, made steady progress to two under par alongside Swedish duo Alexander Noren and Niclas Fasth, with defending champion Alvaro Quiros in the clubhouse at one under.