Four successive birdies put Fitzpatrick clear in Dubai


Matthew Fitzpatrick made six birdies on the back nine at Emirates Golf Club
Dubai Desert Classic, first-round leaderboard
-7 M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -6 B DeChambeau (US), S Garcia (Spa), K Samooja (Fin), T Jaidee (Tha), S Hend (Aus), C Shinkwin (Eng), R Langasque (Fra)
Selected others: -5 L Westwood (Eng), I Poulter (Eng), P Waring (Eng); -4 S Gallacher (Sco), T Fleetwood (Eng), B Dredge (Wal). Leaderboard

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick leads the Dubai Desert Classic by one stroke after finishing his opening round with four successive birdies on Thursday.

American Bryson DeChambeau and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia are among a group of eight players sitting one shot off the lead at six under par.

Fitzpatrick carded eight birdies in total to finish on 65 for the day.

Fellow Englishman Callum Shinkwin is also just one stroke back after an eagle on the par-four 17th.

“I do like the golf course. It’s tough, you’ve got to hit fairways, you’ve got to hit greens and I think it does suit my game if I’m playing well,” said Fitzpatrick.

“So it’s nice to be able to get off to a good start and three more rounds like that would be nice.”

Compatriots Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Paul Waring finished on five under par, with Tommy Fleetwood and Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher another stroke back.

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