Thursday, 21 January 2016
Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy took a share of the early lead as the usual suspects dominated the leaderboard on day one of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

The German has won three times at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and a run of four birdies from the 15th saw him turn in 32 to get to four under alongside McIlroy and Richard Bland.

McIlroy, playing in the group ahead of Kaymer, had made the turn in 33 but a birdie on the first moved him into a share of the lead while Bland birdied his opening three holes and the eighth.

The World Number Three is searching for his first win in this event after finishing second in four of the last five years while for Kaymer, a fourth victory would provide some redemption after he squandered a ten-shot lead in the final round last year.

World Number One Jordan Spieth had also made a good start with three birdies in his first ten holes and he was in the group just a shot off the lead alongside Byeong-hun An, Andrew Johnston, David Howell and Henrik Stenson.

Raphaël Jacquelin made the first birdie of the day but McIlroy soon made the second as he got up-and-down from a bunker on the par five tenth and he made it a birdie-birdie start on the next.

He put his tee-shot on the par three 12th close but saw his putt lip out and then had a shock on the next as he three-putted after having only 120 yards left after his drive.

While McIlroy was making bogey, Bland was bettering his start with birdies on the first, second and third to get into the lead but McIlroy got back within a shot of him with a 10-foot gain on the 14th.

The Northern Irishman was disappointed with his tee-shot on the next as he left himself around 25 feet for birdie but he made it to get into a share of top spot with Spieth making a first birdie of the day after putting his tee-shot inside five feet.

Kaymer was level par as he stood on the 15th tee after a birdie and a bogey but three consecutive gains catapulted him up the leaderboard with another McIlroy three-putt on the 17th dropping him to two under.

But he bounced straight back on the par five 18th as an excellent third shot from the side of the green helped him to a birdie with Spieth making his second of the day from three feet.

Bland moved ahead with a gain on the eighth but Kaymer soon joined him and when McIlroy and Speith both birdied the first, the top of the leaderboard had an intimidating look.

Johnston had one bogey and four birdies through 12 holes while BMW PGA Championship winner An had the same record after nine.

Stenson and Howell were blemish-free through nine and 12 holes respectively.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1FOWLER, RickieUSA18-16
2PIETERS, ThomasBEL18-15
T3STENSON, HenrikSWE18-14
T3MCILROY, RoryNIR18-14
T5SIEM, MarcelGER18-11
T5SPIETH, JordanUSA18-11

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