Completed: The Celtic Manor ResortSep 18-21

ISPS Handa Wales Open

Scheduled: Old Course St. AndrewsOct 2-5

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Luke Donald leads the DP World Tour Championship after an opening 65

Last Updated: 23/11/12 6:35am

  • Share:
Luke Donald: Carded a bogey-free 65 to set the early pace in Dubai

Luke Donald: Carded a bogey-free 65 to set the early pace in Dubai

Luke Donald fired a superb 65 to lead after the first round of the DP World Tour Championship, but Rory McIlroy sits just a stroke back following a flawless 66.

On a day when the cream rose to the top in Dubai, it was in-form Donald who set the early pace as he picked up where he left off from his victory at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan last week.

But McIlroy found his form on the back nine, with five birdies in the space of seven holes catapulting him into contention.

The World No.1 finished the day one back on six-under alongside Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Marc Warren of Scotland.

A host of big names gravitated towards the top of the leaderboard with Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Louis Oosthuizen and Padraig Harrington all posting 67s to put themselves within two of the lead.

Donald on song

Donald moved back up to second in the world rankings, ahead of Tiger Woods, with his victory in Japan and is seeking to match McIlroy's four wins this year.

First round leaderboard

(GB & Ire unless stated)
-7 L Donald
-6 G F'dez-Castano (Spa)
-6 R McIlroy
-6 M Warren

Click here for collated scores

The Englishman birdied the fifth, seventh and eighth to turn in 33, started for home with two more, made a 15-footer at the short 13th and only just missed an eagle attempt at the 626-yard 14th.

"I felt like I couldn't miss. I hit some really good irons shots too and it's fun when it seems that easy," Donald said.

McIlroy, who has already matched Donald's achievement of winning the money-list title on both sides of the Atlantic this year, came alive after the turn as he birdied 10, 12, 14, 15 and 16.

The USPGA champion was particularly pleased with how he drove the ball and, even when he did make a mistake off the tee by finding water at 18, he duly recovered to escape with a par, ensuring he also kept a bogey off his card.

  • Share:


DP World Tour Championship 2012

Wilson: the Nottinghamshire swinger will not have full playing privileges in 2013

Drifting off course

Oliver Wilson and Camilo Villegas must graft hard to earn their Tour cards back, says Rob Lee.

Donald: the Englishman won three events in 2012

Two's not so blue

Rory McIlroy had a great season, says Rob Lee, but Luke Donald's campaign wasn't bad either.

McIlroy: dug deep to win in Dubai

Rory finds top gear

Paul McGinley says Rory McIlroy's Dubai win shows his career moved to a new level in 2012.

Most Popular


Kammy's golf lesson

Kammy's golf lesson

Rory McIlroy gave Kammy some tips to improve his golf swing on this week's Goals On Sunday.

McIlroy's mission

McIlroy's mission

A European Ryder Cup victory would be the icing on the cake for a fantastic year, says Rory McIlroy.

Tour de Ryder Cup: Day 6

Tour de Ryder Cup: Day 6

Four West Yorkshire golfers give the latest update on their charity Ryder Cup bike ride.