David Law produced a spotless 64 on the opening day of the 2021 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters to lead by a single shot.
Afternoon starter Law followed up five birdies on the front side with two more on his homeward nine to equal his lowest European Tour round, jump to seven under par and leapfrog early clubhouse leaders Kalle Samooja and Richard McEvoy into top spot.
Finn Samooja and England’s McEvoy were then joined in a tie for second on six under by Italian Nino Bertasio and South African Hennie Du Plessis as the players continued to post low scores in the afternoon.
Law had shot just one round in the 60s in three European Tour events in 2021 coming into this week but made a lightning quick start on Thursday.
After holing a lengthy birdie putt at the first, the Scot made it three in a row with further gains at the second and third.
Law’s fine form with the putter continued as birdies at the seventh and eighth took him to the turn in 31 blows.
The 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open champion joined Samooja and McEvoy on six under with a birdie putt from four feet at the 13th, before taking the outright lead when his 14 foot putt for birdie on the short 15th dropped, having first circled the hole.
Law then kept his card clean with pars at the 16th, 17th and 18th to head into the clubhouse on seven under.
He said: “It was a good score. I played really well. Conditions were quite easy but I was happy with my iron play and I holed some putts, which was nice.
"I’ve been guilty over the last few weeks when I’ve had decent rounds going of not finishing them off. I was semi-conscious of sticking with it and trying to go low.
"I was really happy with how I stuck to my routines, my processes and I came out of it with a good score.
"I’m a lot more focused on my targets rather than my golf swings. Over the last couple of seasons I’ve been guilty of asking myself why I’ve been hitting bad shots, instead of just going on to hit the next one.
"Over the break we had I sat down with my coach Alan McCloskey and Paul Lawrie, we discussed it and it’s all about getting the ball in the hole now, trusting that you’ve done the hard work and the work’s done.
"It’s a nice draw. I’m looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow. It’ll be different.
"Although it was hot and muggy it was calm, it’s never normally like that here. Tomorrow will be a bit more like normal, a bit of wind and it’ll be testing. I’m looking forward to it."
In the morning Samooja had carded seven birdies – including three in a row from the second – and a single bogey to head into the clubhouse on six under.
He was soon joined at that mark by McEvoy, who bounced back from an early bogey with seven birdies.
Then in the afternoon, Du Plessis made six birdies in a flawless opening effort to take his place in the group on six under, before Bertasio completed his round of 65, which contained eight birdies and two bogeys.
Joachim B. Hansen, Thomas Detry, Garrick Higgo and Joakim Lagergren were another shot back on five under, one stroke ahead of the large group containing defending champion Jorge Campillo.