Qatar Masters: George Coetzee holds one-shot lead after round one in Doha
Last Updated: 22/01/14 3:08pm
George Coetzee: One-stroke lead after opening round in Doha
George Coetzee finished with three consecutive birdies to take a one-stroke lead at the end of the first round of the Qatar Masters in Doha.
The South African's flying finish saw him post an eight-under-par 64 and edge clear of compatriot Dawie van der Walt and England's Steve Webster at the top of the leaderboard.
Webster produced the moment of the day as he kicked off his round, which started at the tenth, with a spectacular albatross - holing his second shot with a five-wood from 254 yards at the par-five.
It was the first time that any player has started a European Tour event with an albatross, although it is the second of Webster's career after also achieving the feat at the Italian Open in 2011.
"It was 254 yards to the pin, slightly into the wind off the left," Webster told Sky Sports. "I want to say five-iron but it was a five-wood and I hit a great shot, obviously straight at it.
"Because I carry a big crowd following me, there were about two people behind the green and one of them started jumping up and pointing down and I didn't know if it had gone over the back into the rocks or in! I got up there and he started clapping and it was a dream start."
Rather unsurprisingly that would prove the highlight for the Englishman although five birdies and just a solitary bogey followed, while Van der Walt - who won the Nelson Mandela Championship last month - did not drop a shot in his 65 as he posted five birdies and an eagle.
Webster continued: ""I have never been three-under after one before and you wonder is this my day or have I had all my luck on the first hole, but I played great after that.
"I was really consistent, gave myself a lot of chances and made a few putts and was probably a little disappointed with seven under to be honest. I probably should have finished nine or 10 under but it's a good start."
First round leaderboard
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-8 G Coetzee (SA)
-7 D Van der Walt (SA)
-7 S Webster
-6 R Cabrera-Bello (Spa)
-6 F Calmels (Fra)
-6 N Elvira (Spa)
-6 R Fisher
Click here for collated scores
Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Nacho Elvira share fourth spot with Frenchman Francois Calmels and former Ryder Cup player Ross Fisher at six-under.
Meanwhile, just a shot further back are 2012 champion Paul Lawrie, major champions Ernie Els and John Daly, South African duo Branden Grace and Thomas Aiken and Gaganjeet Bhullar of India.
European number one Henrik Stenson quickly returned to form after a rare missed cut in Abu Dhabi, the Swede carding birdies at his last two holes to complete a four-under 68 along with the likes of Thorbjorn Olesen and Simon Dyson.
Stenson's playing partner Jason Dufner, the US PGA champion, returned a 70 but the third member of the marquee group, former world number one Luke Donald, could only manage a 72 which featured a missed par putt from inside a foot on the fourth.
Play got under way shortly after 7am local time following a 30-minute fog delay, but Darren Clarke was forced to miss out on his 500th European Tour appearance after pulling out through injury.
The 45-year-old suffered a pulled muscle on Tuesday and was forced to withdraw, with Sweden's Jens Dantorp - who earnt his card through the qualifying school last year - taking his place in the field.