In a field thick with greats, the hot hand of Bernd Wiesberger proved best on Day One of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Wiesberger shot an 8-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over four others. He was just about perfect on the back nine, with six birdies, including five in a row between 13 and 17.
The year 2015 has been very good to Wiesberger so far. He finished tied for sixth at the Abu Dhabi HSBC, and third at the Qatar Masters.
Just a stroke behind is the unusual quarter of Brits Lee Westwood and Andy Sullivan, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, and one of the only Americans in the field, world No. 154 Peter Uihlein.
The 25- year-old Uihlein has gotten off to a hot start playing the Euro Tour this year, with a ninth-place finish at Perth and a tie for 11th at Turkey. Only a bogey on No. 17 kept him from being tied for the lead.
Sullivan, who won the South African Open a month ago, punctuated his 7-under with an eagle 3 on the 564-yard No. 18.
Looming two strokes back are even more heavyweights, including World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who bogeyed No. 9 -his final hole of the day – to taint an otherwise great round. Also at 6-under are Scots Marc Warren and Stephen Gallacher.
Last week’s winner, Martin Kaymer, is 5-under, tied for 13th along with current Race to Dubai leader Danny Willett and Graeme McDowell.