Pieters on top at Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Thomas Pieters didn’t let the challenging conditions in Dubai affect his game as he posted a five under par 67 to take the first round lead at the 31st edition of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

The Belgian, who started on the tenth tee, made the turn in 32 after carding five impressive birdies but gave three shots back over the next two holes with the rough thicker than ever before over the iconic Majlis. The four-time European Tour winner superbly bounced back as he picked up three more shots over his next five holes to take a one stroke lead into tomorrow’s second round at Emirates Golf Club.

“It was a good round today,” said Pieters. “My drives and 3-woods weren’t very good today, but somehow I found the greens and if I did hit a fairway, I took advantage of it. Played the par 3s very well. So that means I’m hitting my irons pretty good as I did last week and I just rolled in a few putts, which was nice.”

American David Lipsky had earlier taken the clubhouse lead with an impressive four under par 68 with the only blemish on his card coming at the par three fourth. The 2014 Omega European Masters made a welcome return to the winner’s circle at the Alfred Dunhill Championship last year and is eager to kick on from there.

“I just want to put myself in contention more often, add a little bit more consistency to my game,” said Lipsky. “I worked really hard in the off-season with my swing coach and I’m seeing it play dividends right now.

“I hit a lot of fairways and greens today, and out here with the way the rough is, and how firm the greens are, you’ve got hit fairways to attack pins. The greens are so firm that coming into the greens from the rough is really tough.”

Eddie Pepperell joined a host of players including Oman Open champion Kurt Kitayama in tied third on three under par while last year’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner Bryson DeChambeau sits a shot further back in tied 13th.

Dubai-based sensation Josh Hill carded a five over 77 while 2019 MENA Tour champion, MG Keyser, posted a two over par 74 to take a share of 59th at the Middle East’s oldest tournament.

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