Friday, 10 February 2012
Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello
made the most of perfect scoring conditions on the opening day of the $US2.5 million ($A2.33 million) Dubai Desert Classic and shot an impeccable round of nine-under par 63 to lead the tournament by two shots.
, who teed off early in the morning, made nine birdies in his first 11 holes, and then parred his way in for a bogey-free 63.
Germany's Marcel Siem and Scotland's Scott Jamieson were tied for second place at seven-under par 65.
Brett Rumford is the best-placed Australian at two under.
The 2009 champion and world No.2 Rory McIlroy got over a slow start and after being one-over through eight holes, the Ulsterman reeled in seven birdies in his next 10 holes to close at a six-under par 66.
Joining him in tied fourth place was the world No.4 Martin Kaymer, who eagled his final hole.
Also on 66 were 2001 champion Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, the big-hitting Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, South Africa's Richard Sterne and the French duo of Gregory Bourdy and Romain Wattel.
Defending champion Alvaro Quiros opened with a two-under par 70, while world No.3 Lee Westwood of England was one shot better at 69.
In complete contrast to last week's Qatar Masters, which was reduced to 54 holes because of high winds, the players could not have asked for better conditions. There was hardly any wind throughout the day, and with the greens playing soft on the opening day, the course was there for the taking.
And nobody did that better than Cabrera-Bello
. In fact, his start was so good that thoughts of a possible 59 did creep into his mind.
The 27-year-old Cabrera-Bello
, who shot a round of 11-under par 60 to win the 2009 Austrian Open by one shot, said: "It came through my mind for a second, not really the 60, but I was 9-under after 11, so I thought I can get to 59.
"But then, I quickly took it out of my mind as just a silly thought and told myself 'just play one shot at a time'. And I'm glad I stopped thinking about it."