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Donaldson dices with European Tour's first 59 in Dubai

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Jamie Donaldson came close to producing the first 59 in European Tour history in the first round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic but had to ‘settle’ for a brilliant ten under par 62 to take early control of the tournament.

The Welshman was in irresistible form at the Emirates Golf Club as he compiled an eagle and nine birdies in the space of 16 holes to set up a chance of shooting golf’s magic number.

But after almost chipping in for birdie on the eighth (his 17th hole), the 42 year old dropped his only stroke of the day on the tough par four ninth to finish the day at ten under and one stroke clear of the English duo of David Horsey and Anthony Wall.

Tyrrell Hatton lies in fourth position on eight under, while Rory McIlroy continued his positive comeback to competitive golf with a seven under 65 to join Swede Alexander Björk, Denmark’s Lasse Jensen, Thomas Pieters of Belgium and in-form Englishman Chris Paisley in a tie for fifth place.

Paisley, who won his maiden European Tour title in South Africa two weeks ago before finishing tied fifth with Pieters in Abu Dhabi last week, is a combined 45 under par for his last nine rounds on Tour; while McIlroy is 25 under for the five rounds he has played since taking a four month break from the game.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia made a solid five under start to the defence of his Omega Dubai Desert Classic crown, but the day belonged to Donaldson who just missed out on equalling Ernie Els’ 14-year-old course record of 61 around the Majlis Course with that closing bogey.

Despite that late aberration, the Welshman is the man to catch heading into the second round.

Round one scores

62 J Donaldson (Wal);

63 D Horsey (Eng); A Wall (Eng);

64 T Hatton (Eng);

65 T Pieters  (Bel); R McIlroy  (Nir); C Paisley  (Eng); A Björk (Swe); L Jensen (Den);

66 P Dunne (Irl); H Porteous (RSA); D Fichardt (RSA); M Jiménez (Esp); H Li  (Chn);

67 A Dodt (Aus); D Burmester (RSA); T Olesen (Den); C Hanson (Eng); T Aiken (RSA); A Cañizares  (Esp); E Molinari  (Ita); B Wiesberger  (Aut); S Garcia  (Esp); A Levy (Fra); A Sullivan (Eng);

68 I Poulter (Eng); S Jamieson  (Sco); M Kaymer (Ger); B Grace  (RSA); A Wu (Chn); S Brazel (Aus); J Elson  (Eng); M Ilonen  (Fin); M Southgate  (Eng); D Im (USA); P Lawrie (Sco); M Siem  (Ger); B Rumford (Aus); T Detry  (Bel); M Korhonen (Fin); P Khongwatmai (Tha);

69 S Sharma (Ind); R Wattel  (Fra); S Crocker (USA); D Lipsky (USA); L Slattery (Eng); D Huizing (Ned); A Johnston (Eng); J Norris (Aus); M Manassero (Ita); R Karlsson (Swe); T Fleetwood  (Eng); P Perez (USA); M Wallace (Eng); R Paratore (Ita); F Zanotti (Par); R Cabrera Bello (Esp); R Bland (Eng); G Bourdy (Fra); M Lorenzo-Vera  (Fra); N Elvira  (Esp); T Immelman  (RSA); J Wang (Kor); D Frittelli (RSA); L Oosthuizen  (RSA); N Colsaerts  (Bel); R Fisher (Eng); T Clements (am) (Eng);

70 H Stenson (Swe); J Scrivener (Aus); A Rai (Eng); E Els (RSA); R Rock (Eng); A Otaegui  (Esp); N Bertasio (Ita); A Chesters  (Eng); O Fisher  (Eng); M Warren (Sco); A Romero (Arg); G Green  (Mas); T Jaidee (Tha); S Chawrasia (Ind); P Larrazábal (Esp); R Ramsay  (Sco); G Havret  (Fra); J Campillo (Esp); R Sterne  (RSA); C Syme  (Sco); M Kieffer (Ger);

71 E Pepperell (Eng); C Wood  (Eng); H Sturehed (Swe); M Pavon (Fra); R Fox (Nzl); K Aphibarnrat (Tha); S Gallacher (Sco); L Bjerregaard  (Den); J Lagergren (Swe); L Joy (Eng); L Westwood (Eng); S Horsfield (Eng); T Bjørn (Den); J Luiten (Ned); S Hend (Aus);

72 A Connelly (Can); S Lee (Kor); S Kjeldsen (Den); B Stone (RSA); W Ormsby (Aus); B An (Kor); G McDowell  (Nir); D Brooks (Eng); C Montgomerie  (Sco); R Gouveia (Por); J Morrison  (Eng); C Pigem  (Esp); H Tanihara (Jpn);

73 P Waring  (Eng); Z Lombard  (RSA); M Fitzpatrick  (Eng); J Singh Brar  (Eng); J Smith (Eng); R Thomas (am) (Ind);

74 G Coetzee (RSA); B Hebert  (Fra); A Marjan (Mar); G Storm  (Eng); A Quiros  (Esp);

75 D Clarke (Nir); C Shinkwin (Eng);

76 M Fraser (Aus);

77 D Willett  (Eng)