Doha – South Africa's Dawie Van der Walt stole the clubhouse honours at the 2.5 million dollar Qatar Masters with a dazzling seven-under par 65 at the Doha Golf Club on Wednesday.
Van der Walt, who already has a win under his belt this season - he triumphed at the Nelson Mandela Championship in Durban earlier this month - shot a bogey-free round to lead by one stroke midway through the first round in the 17th edition of the tournament.
Spaniards Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Elviro Nacho had a 66 each and are tied in second place along with France's Francois Calmels, while India's Gaganjit Singh Bhullar was a further one shot down on five under. The Indian, however, had played only 15 holes.
Van der Walt had two birdies over his first nine holes - he teed off from the 10th - and began his back nine with an eagle on the 591-yard first hole. He followed it with two consecutive birdies to set the pace on a day which saw the action begin 30 minutes late because of fog.
The 115-kilo giant then picked up three more shots to set himself up nicely for the remainder of the tournament.
Spaniard Nacho, too, had a bogey-free round, while Frenchman Calmels' dropped two shots that somewhat blotted an otherwise spectacular round in which he had six birdies and an eagle.
Meanwhile, Steve Webster was already four under after five holes, beginning proceedings with a sensational albatross on the 10th, his first hole. – Sapa-AFP