Rolex Series

Day one digest: 2021 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai

Everything you need to know from the opening day of the 2021 Race to Dubai finale.

Earth Course

Rory ran riot, Collin was on track, we had hole outs and long putts galore and Tyrrell was typically forthright on day one of the 2021 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

Here is everything you need to know from Thursday at the final Rolex Series event of 2021.

Masterful McIlroy dominates in Dubai

Rory McIlroy declared he'd "got my golf game back" after his opening 65 but we're not sure it's ever left him at Jumeirah Golf Estates. In 10 appearances over the Earth Course, the Northern Irishman has two wins and five other top fives, with a worst finish of 20th. His opening effort moved him to seven under after 18 holes and handed him a two shot lead over South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Dane Joachim B. Hansen and Finn Tapio Pulkkanen. "I've been coming back here now for 12 years and it flies by," said McIlroy. "I think (I've got) a lot of experience around this place, a lot of great memories and memories of great shots and great putts. Getting into contention in one Major this year isn't good enough for me. I've done way better than that before and I know I can again, especially with how I'm playing and feeling like I've got my golf game back, basically." Sounds ominous for the rest.

Morikawa on track for history

The scenario is simple for Collin Morikawa this week - win and he will be the first American ever to be crowned European Number One. Of course doing it isn't quite so easy against a world class field but an opening 68 was a solid start and after 18 holes he was still in pole position to lift the Harry Vardon Trophy on Sunday. "It was pretty solid throughout," he said. "Obviously the two bogeys were a little unenforced but I made a few birdies out there and kept the momentum going and it was a good way to start the first round out here."

No putter required

It didn't take long for the hole outs to start - take a bow Justin Harding.

Then Tapio Pulkkanen did this on the last. Now that is how you finish your round and set the target.

But if you do decide you need one...

Make sure you putt like Rafa Cabrera Bello. An absolute monster.

Or maybe Tyrrell Hatton.

Never change, Tyrrell

Not sure we've ever seen a more honest (or quite possibly harsh) assessment of a golf shot than this.

Flying solo

With 53 players in the field this week, there was always going to be one man playing alone and that was James Morrison on day one. The Englishman teed off at 8.15am and less than four hours later he had signed for a 71 at one under. That is a nice platform for the week and he'll have some company on day two.

James Morrison

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