European Tour 2021 - Omega Dubai Desert Classic - Round One
South Africa's Richard Sterne is at the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic, with 8-under 64.
American Kurt Kitayama is immediately behind Sterne, on 7-under. Justin Harding, also from South Africa, is tied third with Sergio Garcia on 6-under 66. Garcia won here at Dubai in 2017.
Australia's Wade Ormsby had a bogey-free round and is among the group two shots back from Garcia, on 4-under 68. (Tommy Fleetwood is in that group.) Fellow Aussie Scott Hend is one stroke back again on 3-under 69.
Lucas Herbert, 2020 winner, and Jason Scrivener who was second at Abu Dhabi last week, both struggled with bogeys and double bogeys. Herbert's round ended 2-over par, Scrivener's 3-over. Last week's Abu Dhabi winner, Tyrrell Hatton, ended his round 4-over and may not make the cut.
In March 2020 Richard Sterne had surgery on his wrist. Clearly, he is now fully recovered and ready for 2021. Garcia and Harding had taken the early lead. Sterne started on the back nine and made five birdies by the turn. Four more meant that even a bogey at the par-four sixth did not stop him powering ahead and overtaking the lead.
39 year old Sterne's last European Tour win was at the Joburg Open in 2013. At Abu Dhabi Championship last week he finished tied at 25th.
"It's always good to get off to a good start, it helps you for the rest of the week," he said. "I've come close here before so it would be nice to have a chance going into the weekend."