Sterne Goes Low in Dubai


Richard Sterne fired a 10-birdie 62 to take the opening-round lead in the Dubai Desert Classic. The European Tour event started Thursday at Emirates Golf Club

Starting on the 10th tee, Sterne carded six birdies on his initial nine holes, making the turn on the par-37 home half with a 31. He then added four more birdies on the par-35 front nine for another 31.

Sterne came just short of matching fellow South African Ernie Els' course record, set in 1994. "I knew Ernie had shot 61 quite a while ago and always thought it would be impossible to get close, but I got as close as you could," he told the European Tour website.

"Hopefully I can just keep going and give myself a chance on Sunday when it counts," added the 31-year-old from Pretoria. "I do want to win again and that's one of the goals for the year. It's been a while since I've won - it's just not that easy to do anymore!"

One stroke back is Scotland's Stephen Gallacher, who had a wild day with seven birdies, two eagles - including one on the par-4, 485-yard sixth after holing out from the fairway - and a couple of bogeys. Sharing third after 65s are England's Tommy Fleetwood and two other Scots, Chris Doak and Scott Jamieson.

"It was a bizarre round. I chipped in, then three-putted from six feet, but I drove it great," Gallacher said. "My driver broke last week, but the new one is working well."

Defending champion Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Spain shot a 69. Making his season debut, Lee Westwood carded a 67, a score matched by 2004 Dubai winner, 56-year-old Mark O'Meara.

A total of 94 players broke par Thursday. Among those who didn't was Paul McGinley. The recently appointed captain of the 2014 European Ryder Cup team opened with a 74.

For complete scoring, visit http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2013/tournamentid=2013009/leaderboard/index.html?showLeaderboard=Y.


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