Nov 15, 2018: Adrian Otaegui and Jordan Smith posted opening rounds of 66 to set the clubhouse target on day one of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. India’s Rookie Shubhankar Sharma shot one over 73 in the first round.
Sharma had a good start with two birdies in the first two holes followed by another at the fifth. But a three-putt bogey at the sixth turned the tide against the Indian. Shubhankar conceded three more bogeys back to back at eighth, eleventh and twelfth holes. He finished an incident filled round with five birdies and six bogeys for a one-over-par 73 lying at T47.
The Englishman Smith, came home in 30 to get to six under and was then joined by Spaniard Otaegui, who was bogey-free at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Danny Willett was then in the clubhouse at five under, one shot clear of Ross Fisher, Thomas Pieters and defending champion Jon Rahm – who had five holes remaining as he goes in search of a third Rolex Series title.
In the battle to win the Race to Dubai, Francesco Molinari turned in 33 to sit two shots ahead of Tommy Fleetwood, with the defending champion needing a win to have any chance of overtaking his Ryder Cup partner.
Japan’s Hideto Tanihara had set the target at three under early in the day and Willett was the first player to get past him.
The 2016 Masters Tournament champion birdied the second but gave the shot back on the fourth before putting his approach to tap-in range on the sixth.
Birdies on the eighth and tenth would follow and while he dropped a shot on the 13th, he picked it straight back up on the next.
Another birdie on the par-three 17th gave him the lead but he was soon joined by Smith who produced a remarkable burst of scoring.
The 2017 Porsche European Open champion was level par after 12 holes with two birdies and two bogeys but then went birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie to jump out into the lead.
Willett hit back with a birdie on the last but Smith also took advantage of the par five and he led the way on his own.
Otaegui made a birdie-birdie start and then added another on the seventh to turn in 33. Gains on the tenth and 14th had him within one and a stunning third into the last set up a closing birdie.
Englishman Fisher was also bogey-free with gains on the tenth, 15th, 17th and last.
Pieters made birdies on the first, third, seventh and eighth but dropped a shot on the ninth before bouncing back on the next. He dropped a shot on the 13th but regained it on the following par five, repeating the trick on the 17th and 18th.
Rahm birdied the first, almost aced the par-three sixth and then made the most of the seventh. The Spaniard made an excellent par save from the bushes on the tenth and then holed a six-footer at the 12th.
Mikko Korhonen, Marcus Kinhult, Joost Luiten, Tom Lewis, Wade Ormsby and Andrea Pavan were in the clubhouse alongside Tanihara at three under.
Molinari holed from ten feet on the first, 15 feet on the fifth and hit a nice chip on the seventh before holing a chip for par on the next.
Fleetwood had a single birdie on the seventh in his first nine holes.