Dubai – South Africa's Richard Sterne fired a scintillating 10-under-par 62 in the Dubai Desert Classic first round on Thursday to overshadow a fine start to the season by world No 8 Lee Westwood.
World No 165 Sterne's 10-birdie round in scoring-friendly conditions was nearly matched by Scot Stephen Gallacher (63) while Race to Dubai money list leader Scott Jamieson and Tommy Fleetwood were two shots further back.
Former world No 1 Westwood (67) matched 56-year-old twice major winner Mark O'Meara's round thanks to a brilliant eagle at the par-five 18th, his ninth hole.
Despite a solitary birdie on the closing nine the Englishman was left beaming after a good day's work.
“I felt very sharp – no rust there at all and I played better today than I finished off last year,” Westwood told reporters.
“You never know what to expect after a few weeks off,” added the 39-year-old, who moved his family to Florida last year in order to keep his game fresh in the off-season.
Also in form were former world No 3 Paul Casey, now ranked 124th, who three-putted his last hole but still came away with a 66 to equal his playing partner, Italian teenager Matteo Manassero. – Reuters