Sweden’s Alex Noren shot a six-under-par round of 66 to lead by one shot after the first round of the 2016 Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday.
Four players, Peter Hanson (Sweden), Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Spain), Brett Rumford (Australia) and Trevor Fisher Jnr (South Africa), are sitting a shot back at five-under.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy carded a 68 along with seven others – Ernie Els (South Africa), David Lipsky (US), Simon Dyson (UK), Alvaro Quiros (Spain), Bernd Wiesberger (Austria), Chris Wood (UK) and Graeme Storm (UK) all ended on four-under to remain in touch with the leader.
The 33-year-old Noren was in fine form and did not have a single bogey on the day.
He scored birdies on the first, fourth, fifth, and seventh holes on the front nine then carried on with birdies on the 10th and 17th to finish at six-under for the day.
McIlroy never looked to be at his best but still finished with a solid four-under round.
A bogey on the second and 10th did not help his cause but he did birdie the third, fifth and sixth on the front nine and then made three more on the 13th, 14th and 18th holes.
Leading Dubai Desert Classic Day 1 scores:
1 SWE Alexander Noren -6, Total 66
T2 ESP Rafael Cabrera-Bello -5, Total 67
T2 RSA Trevor Fisher Jr
T2 SWE Peter Hanson
T2 AUS Brett Rumford
T6 ENG Simon Dyson -4, Total 68
T6 RSA Ernie Els
T6 USA David Lipsky
T6 NIR Rory McIlroy
T6 ESP Alvaro Quiros
T6 ENG Graeme Storm
T6 AUT Bernd Wiesberger
T6 ENG Chris Wood
T14 ENG James Allan -3, Total 69
T14 ENG Richard Bland
T14 ENG Daniel Brooks
T14 ENG Ben Evans
T14 ENG Oliver Fisher
T14 FRA Benjamin Hebert
T14 AUS Nathan Holman
T14 FRA Raphael Jacquelin
T14 SCO Scott Jamieson
T14 NED Joost Luiten
T14 ITA Matteo Manassero
T14 NIR Graeme McDowell
T14 ENG James Morrison
T14 FRA Julien Quesne