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Reed sets pace as Rose maintains edge
November 17, 2017
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DUBAI: Patrick Reed’s putter caught fire down the back nine of the Earth course as he took the first-round lead with a sizzling seven under 65 at Jumeirah Golf Estates as the DP World Tour Championship got underway on Thursday.

The American, who finished tied 10th in his previous appearance at the Race to Dubai’s grand finale, was a model of consistency as he carded seven birdies, five of them on the homeward stretch, in a blemish-free round.

“I felt like my ball-striking was where it needed to be,” said the World No.23. “I feel like I had control over the golf ball today and it seemed like the tee shots I didn’t 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. When you get in trouble, you have to figure out how to get yourself out of it and you just have to capitalise on all the opportunities you have. I did that but still feel like I left two or three out there that I left short right in the heart. But all in all, it’s a great start.”

As well as the battle for the prestigious tournament title, this week’s event features a fascinating three-way tussle for the Race to Dubai crown between Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia.

Victory for Rose will seal it and he needs to finish at least solo fifth to have any chance, providing Fleetwood finishes below solo 39th and Garcia fails to win the tournament, and the Englishman got off to a promising start with a six under 66, the highlight of which was a chip in for eagle from the bunker on the 14th. With Garcia posting a two-under 70 to lie tied 21st and Fleetwood getting off to a slow start with a one over 73 to sit in a share of 46th, Rose, who only came into the Race to Dubai reckoning recently due to back to back victories in China and Turkey, is in a strong position heading into today’s second round.

“It wasn’t really on my radar a month ago and that’s the perspective I have to keep,” said Rose who is targeting a second Race to Dubai title having first claimed it ten years ago in 2007. “This is an opportunity for me. It would be easy to start to think about it as being in my hands now but for me it’s still a bonus if I do it. There are two things to think about this week: winning the golf tournament and winning the Race to Dubai and if I do the first one, the second one will happen. I’ve just got to put together a really good final three rounds and do what I always do. Some weeks it happens and others it doesn’t but certainly right now things are feeling a bit easier than they normally do.”

Australia’s Scott Hend joins Rose at six under after putting together his best round in three appearances at the DP World Tour Championship with a scintillating round of 66 which would have matched Reed’s but for a bogey at the last where he found the fairway creek with his tee shot.

Having finished outside the top 40 in each of his five events since taking the runner up spot at the Omega European Masters, there was much to be positive about for the 44 year old, who rattled off five birdies in a six hole stretch from the 10th.

“I’m just trying to stick with my job and stay in the moment, which I haven’t done in the last couple weeks,” said Hend. “Just taking small steps towards to where I want to be. That’s what we’ve been working on.”

Hend’s playing partner Alexander Bjork lies close behind at five under par alongside defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, Ryan Fox, Fabrizio Zanotti, Alexander Levy.

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