Stenson leads after day one in Abu Dhabi

Henrik Stenson blew away the opposition on day one of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a superb opening round despite suffering from a "lack of practice".

The Swede shot a flawless 64 to lead rivals Danny Willett and Dustin Johnson in the only course on the European Tour's 'Desert Swing' where he is yet to be victorious.

The 40-year-old started well with 30 by the turn before he crucially shot two birdies in his last three holes to end on eight under par.

He leads Martin Kaymer by two shots with Oliver Fisher, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Marc Warren also shooting 66 to keep the pressure on the leader.

"Lack of sleep, lack of practice," the Swede told Sky Sports "I'm delighted with that score. I think I scored a bit better than I played, but I kept it under control somewhat and hit a couple of close iron shots and made the putts. There wasn't too much stress out there.

"I have been working on my putting and some short game, and I hit a couple of buckets last week. Then I flew to Sweden for the sports awards, and I came down here on Tuesday morning. So it was very limited preparation, that might be the way forward, I don't know.

"I just want to keep on developing my game, keep on working hard on that, and come into the majors well prepared and well rested and try and put myself in contention. I feel like I can get the Claret Jug some company if I do that. I'm going to try my hardest.

"I put a really good score together out there, and the putter was working well. I kept it tidy, chipped in once when I missed the green and a couple up-and-downs, and it's a very good start to the year."

Meanwhile, Englishman Tyrrell Hatton was another shot further back while his compatriot Willett could only manage a round of 74 with a triple-bogey seven on the 14th.

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn shot six birdies to finish four under par, while American Johnson was way off the pace with an opening round of 72.

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