Reed leads in Dubai but Rose looms large
Dubai, November 16: Patrick Reed moved one shot clear after the opening round of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, but Justin Rose was in close pursuit as the Englishman aims to make it three successive victories and win the Race to Dubai in the process.
The American 2016 Ryder Cup star Reed posted a flawless seven under par opening 65 early in the day, and said, “I felt like ball-striking was where it needed to be. I feel like I had pretty much had control over the golf ball today. It seemed like the tee shots that I didn’t seem to hit particularly well, I missed them in the correct spots.
“I only hit one tee shot where I felt like I didn’t hit it in the right spot and from there I was able to get the ball back in play, hit a wedge shot on the green and make the putt. That’s what you’ve got to do to shoot low numbers around any kind of golf course.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing on both tours and having both memberships. It was a pretty easy decision to kind of come over and play in this event.
“It’s important but really the biggest thing for me is just improving my golf swing, improving around the greens and improving in all areas. I hit the ball well, and putted well. I feel like earlier this year, either I hit the ball well and didn’t make any putts or I hit it great the following day and missed putts. I feel like the hard work I did with my coach right after Mexico really paid off coming into this week.”
All eyes were on the final pairing of Rose and Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood. Along with Masters Champion Sergio Garcia, the English duo are battling it out this week to be crowned European Tour Number One and it was the former US Open Champion Rose who stole an early march in the race to the finish line as he signed for a six under 66 to share second place with Scott Hend.
Rose’s round, which included an eagle three at the 14th and a birdie at the last, meant he is now in the driving seat in the projected Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, after his playing partner Fleetwood struggled to a one over 73 having double-bogeyed the first: “I’m really happy with that as a start. I wanted to come out today with good intent and get myself moving forward quickly. I’ve been fortunate enough to have won the last two events, but I’ve been doing so from quite a long way behind and you can’t always rely on that. I was definitely keen today to come out and try and get going as quick as I could and see where it goes from here.
“But I’m delighted with the way I played today. I don’t think I missed a green. The 17th was just off the edge but I gave myself chances all day. It got a little bit windier and trickier towards the end, but I was really happy the way it turned out.”
Scott Hend wasn’t looking too far ahead, and said,“I’m just trying to stick with my job and stay in the moment, which I haven’t done in the last couple weeks. I’m just taking small steps towards to where I want to be. That’s just what we’ve been working on.
“It’s all about staying in the moment and trying to hit the same shots you hit on the driving range. I know it sounds very simple and it’s not easy to do, but that’s what us guys playing out here try and do.
“Three days is a long way and this golf course can throw up anything. I’m just going to go about doing my job and try to do the best I can. That’s all I can ask of myself. Probably had a couple months since Crans of not playing well. I think I’ve found the reason why that is.”
Defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick was one of six players in a share of fourth place on five under par, while Garcia’s hopes of overtaking Fleetwood and Rose remain intact despite the Spaniard opening with two bogeys – he bounced back strongly to finish with a two under 70.
“A 67 anywhere is a great start but obviously defending champ as well, it’s probably a little bit extra special I guess. So it’s good to sort of continue where I left off, get off to a good start with a low one,” said Fitzpatrick.
“That’s the exciting thing. I sort of feel like I’ve been playing quite nicely, and I’ve had a good stretch of weeks. And obviously coming here again, you’re full of confidence, knowing the place like the back of your hand, and doing so well there the year before. It sets up for an exciting week, and you never know. I’ve been playing quite well and it would be nice to finish the year on a high.
“I’ve been doing a bit more press this week being defending champion. But at the same time, Tommy and Rosey and Sergio, they are all under a little more pressure to win the Race to Dubai. I guess it’s a little advantage that I’ve got.”
Results after round One
65 P Reed (USA) ,
66 S Hend (Aus) , J Rose (Eng) ,
67 F Zanotti (Par) , R Fox (Nzl) , M Fitzpatrick (Eng) , A Levy (Fra) , A Björk (Swe) , P Dunne (Irl) ,
68 N Colsaerts (Bel) , A Sullivan (Eng) , M Kaymer (Ger) , D Horsey (Eng) , S Kjeldsen (Den) , J Suri (USA) ,
69 P Larrazábal (Esp) , J Rahm (Esp) , S Lowry (Irl) , K Aphibarnrat (Tha) , F Molinari (Ita) ,
70 C Schwartzel (RSA) , G Coetzee (RSA) , I Poulter (Eng) , C Wood (Eng) , D Lipsky (USA) , D Burmester (RSA) , H Porteous (RSA) , A Dodt (Aus) , P Waring (Eng) , S Garcia (Esp) , M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) ,
71 J Wang (Kor) , A Otaegui (Esp) , D Frittelli (RSA) , P Uihlein (USA) , B Wiesberger (Aut) , R Sterne (RSA) , R Fisher (Eng) , M Pavon (Fra) ,
72 T Hatton (Eng) , M Warren (Sco) , R Ramsay (Sco) , B Grace (RSA) , C Shinkwin (Eng) , L Haotong (Chn) ,
73 H Tanihara (Jpn) , R Cabrera Bello (Esp) , T Fleetwood (Eng) , J Luiten (Ned) , D Drysdale (Sco) ,
74 A Noren (Swe) , T Pieters (Bel) , T Olesen (Den) ,
75 L Bjerregaard (Den) , J Smith (Eng) , L Westwood (Eng) , V Dubuisson (Fra) , E Pepperell (Eng) ,
76 G Storm (Eng) , S Jamieson (Sco) ,