Spanish star Rafa Cabrera-Bello shot a bogey-free, six-under-par 66 to post the clubhouse lead after the morning rounds on the first day of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
“Obviously I’m very pleased, happy the way I played and looking forward to tomorrow and the weekend,” said the Spaniard, who tied for third last year, missing the playoff by one shot.
“I had a good stretch through 16 and all the way through two, which for me the are birdie holes, the ones where you can go low. I managed to do that with three birdies there and just kept playing solid till I got home.”
Alejandro Canizares – Cabrera-Bello’s playing partner and compatriot – Mark Foster of England, Branden Grace of South Africa and Moritz Lampert of Germany all shot 67 at Doha Golf Club.
World No. 5 Justin Rose continued his Sunday form from Abu Dhabi as he posted a 68, a score matched by playing partner Stephen Gallacher, his Ryder Cup teammate.
“I mean, 68 is a good start,” said Rose, who closed with a 65 in Abu Dhabi after following his opening 73 with two 69s. “It’s obviously not an electric pace, but nice to be somewhere in contention and it's a score on which to build for the rest of the week. It's the perfect type of start, really.
“I’ve had four consecutive rounds in the 60s, so it's always nice to do that. It tells me I'm doing some things well. I think the area of my game that's been keeping me together is my chipping. I've been chipping the ball nice when arrive been making mistakes. I just need to keep that going and continue to improve the rest.”
Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion and third member of the high-profile group, carded a 69 after bogeys on the last two holes.
World No. 2 Henrik Stenson, World No. 6 Sergio Garcia, the defending champion, and four-time Major winner Ernie Els were competing in an all-star group teeing off at 11.55am.
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