JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Haydn Porteous fired a scintillating six-under 66 in the opening round of the Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club on Thursday.
The two-time European Tour event winner shares seventh place behind a host of players tied for the lead on seven-under 65 among the morning field, which include former world number one Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and SA Open Champion Chris Paisley of England.
The big-hitting 23-year-old reeled off nine birdies in his round which also included a bogey and a double-bogey seven on the par five third.
Dean Burmester is a further shot behind on five-under in a tie for ninth after signing for a solid 67.
Richard Sterne and three-time Dubai Desert Classic winner Ernie Els both shot two-under 70. The Big Easy, however, would have been left frustrated after he picked up five birdies in a row around the turn to get to four-under, before he dropped two shots in his last five holes to fall back down the leaderboard.
Zander Lombard (73) and George Coetzee (74) both struggled in the easy early morning scoring conditions.
There were six South Africans who teed off in the afternoon field including Branden Grace and Dylan Frittelli.