David Howell
David Howell (left), winner of the 1999 Dubai Desert Classic, receiving his award for teeing it up in 700 tournaments on the DP World Tour from DP World Tour's Keith Waters. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: There was a three-way tie for the lead after Day One of the €1,750,000 Cazoo Open supported by Gareth Bale at The Celtic Manor Resort, where Frenchman Julien Guerrier, Connor Syme of Scotland and England’s Dale Whitnell all carded four under par rounds of 67 to move clear of the pack.

The breezy conditions, with gusts blowing and changing direction throughout, made for a tough opening day on the Twenty Ten Course, which hosted the Ryder Cup 12 years ago, so low scores were at a premium.

Whitnell carded arguably the most impressive round of the day as he was the only player in the field not to drop a shot, the 33 year-old carding four birdies as he chases a maiden DP World Tour title.

Tricky conditions

Syme dropped his only shot of the day on the tenth, his last hole, having teed off at the 11th — to just miss out on holding the solo overnight lead, while Guerrier racked up seven birdies in the tricky conditions but had to battle for his place at the top, having been two over par after four holes.

Eddie Pepperell, who finished runner-up at last week’s Hero Open, was one of six players tied for second place on three under par, the Englishman having signed for a 68 which included six birdies, a bogey and a double bogey.

Aviv Clinics Dubai Ambassador Nico Colsaerts shot a first round seven over par 78. Starting on hole one, the Belgian had the worst of starts with a triple bogey seven, with his opening tee shot finding a bush. An outward 41 was followed by an inward half of 37, with some confidence regained with two birdies in a strong finish on holes 15 and 17.

Exclusive club

Englishman Ross McGowan, representing Ras Al Khaimah’s Al Hamra Golf Club in UAE, shot a level par 71 to lie in tied 35th spot.

Another Englishman David Howell, winner of the 1999 Dubai Desert Classic, made history when he teed off this week by becoming just the third player to play 700 events on the DP World Tour, joining European golf legends Sam Torrance and Miguel Angel Jimenez on the exclusive list.

The second round tees off today (Friday) with Colsaerts starting on hole 11 at 8.50am. Dubai TV will be showing the Cazoo Open live at 5.30pm today (Local UAE time).

Round One scores (Par 71, 7503 Yards):

J. Guerrier (Fr) 67.

C. Syme (Scot) 67.

D. Whitnell (Eng) 67.

M. Korhonen (Fin) 68.

E. Ferguson (Scot) 68.

I Cantero Gutierrez (Sp) 68.

E. Pepperell (Eng) 68.

M. Armitage (Eng) 68.

M. Kieffer (Ger) 68.