Skip to main content

World's top two dominate early in Dubai World Championship

November 22, 2012 -- Updated 2201 GMT (0601 HKT)
Luke Donald delighted the galleries with a superb seven-under-par 65 in Dubai.
Luke Donald delighted the galleries with a superb seven-under-par 65 in Dubai.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Luke Donald leads after first round of Dubai World Championship on 65
  • World No.1 Rory Mcllroy tied for second just a shot back
  • McIlroy has already clinched Race to Dubai on European Tour
  • Three former major winners in tie for fourth in season-finale

(CNN) -- Golf's elite charged to the top of the leaderboard in the first round of the Dubai World Championship Thursday in the $8million concluding event of the European Tour.

World No.2 Luke Donald, looking for back to back wins after victory in the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan last weekend, led the way after a seven-under-par 65 at Jumeirah Golf Estates but rankings leader Rory McIlroy was only one shot adrift in a three-strong chasing group.

Donald grabbed his seven birdies in a stunning run from the fifth to the 14th to set the early pace.

"I felt like I couldn't miss. I hit some really good irons shots too and it's fun when it seems that easy," the Englishman told the official European Tour website.

Exclusive: Tiger and Rory's 'bromance'
Tiger and Rory talk friendly competition
Greatest sporting drama of all time?

McIlroy, who has already clinched money list honors on both the European and PGA Tours, was one under at the turn, but then made five birdies in seven holes.

The Northern Irishman drove into the water at the par-five 18th, but recovered for a par to make sure his card was flawless.

"I think I drove the ball beautifully with the exception of 18," he said.

He shared second place with Scot Marc Warren and Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

Joint fourth on 67 was a star-studded group, with former major winners in Germany's Martin Kaymer, Padraig Harrington of Ireland and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa.

2009 winner Lee Westwood of England was also on that mark along with Scot Richie Ramsay and Fredrik Andersson Hed of Sweden.

But Ryder Cup heroes Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter trailed after one-over 73s.

Garcia is making his first appearance since Medinah after eye surgery, while HSBC World Golf Championship winner Poulter was undone by inconsistent play.

All 12 of the European team which retained the trophy against the United States are playing in Dubai.

The top 60 in the European Tour money list tee off in the showpiece finale, but only 56 have started with Thomas Bjorn and Retief Goosen out injured, while Ross Fisher pulled out earlier in the week, and just before the start Ireland's Shane Lowry withdrew after going down with a virus.

Donald, who moved back ahead of Tiger Woods in the rankings with his Japan victory, is seeking his fourth win of the year.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.
ADVERTISEMENT