Everything you need to know from day one at Emirates Golf Club.
Pieters pounced to take the lead, Emirates Golf Club took no prisoners and there was some spectacular shot making during round one in the Middle East.
Here is everything you need to know from Thursday at the 2020 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Persistent Pieters edges ahead
When Thomas Pieters turned in five under with a share of the lead as much of the field around him struggled, he must have wondered what all the fuss was about with the new, tougher set-up at Emirates Golf. Just two holes and three dropped shots later he knew all too well but a hat-trick of birdies from the fifth edged him back ahead. The big hitting Belgian enters day two at five under, one ahead of American David Lipsky. "I know I'm hitting the ball quite nice and I'm just looking forward to the next three days," said Pieters. "It's always a bit scary starting out, you don't know what to expect even though you've put the work in - that competitive mindset sometimes takes a while to kick in. But I think today was one of my better rounds of the year."
Emirates Golf Club bites back
Last season Bryson DeChambeau won this event at 24 under - it's safe to say that won't be happening this season. The fairways are tighter, the rough is thicker and the greens are quicker than ever before. The result was, in terms of scoring, one of the hardest days in the history of this golf course - not that the players were complaining.
"It's a very, very good test of golf and you have to make sure your wedge game is on and your iron play is on," said DeChambeau.
"It's a great set-up, I like it," added Joost Luiten.
And Edoardo Molinari had this to say.
Played poorly today but a pleasure anyway to play a golf course in such a great shape, tough and fair! Well done @EuropeanTour, @OMEGAgolfdubai and @emiratesgc! This is how any @EuropeanTour event should be set up! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻— Edoardo Molinari (@DodoMolinari) January 23, 2020
The best like a test.
Mother Nature played her part
You can have tight fairways, thick juicy rough and fast greens but wind can make even a tame golf course tough. Today in the desert we had this. Did someone call Darude?
King Louis is dialled in
There were only 29 players under par and three of them were Major Champions. One of those was Louis Oosthuizen and that had a lot to do with shots like this.
Fast greens? No problem
Even on slick surfaces, these guys can make bombs.