herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Wall and Siem set the early pace in Desert Classic

THREE of the world's top four golfers are at the Dubai Desert Classic this week, but it was two players outside the top 200 setting the pace at the start.

England's Anthony Wall and German Marcel Siem both birdied five of their first 11 holes to lead by one from Swede Johan Edfors.

Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer, second and fourth on the rankings, were among those not teeing off until this afternoon - Abu Dhabi winner Robert Rock was another - but Lee Westwood had to be content with only one birdie in his first seven holes.

Prior to action World No 2 McIlroy said a more mature approach to his game can help him add to his trophy haul.

"I feel like I've definitely matured a lot this past year as a golfer and probably just as a person as well. I feel like I can play more controlled golf when I need to. When you're not playing as well, you need to know your limitations, reel it back in a little bit and play the percentages a bit more."

Westwood was playing with Paul Lawrie, who triumphed in Qatar on Sunday, and the Scot also birdied the long 13th - their fourth of the day - before adding a second birdie on the 425-yard 16th.

Siem went to seven under by picking up further strokes on the short 15th and 16th, but was caught by Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello.

The 27-year-old Canary Islander shot a European Tour record-equalling 60 to win in Austria three years ago and this time he had seven birdies on the back nine to turn in a brilliant 30.

Westwood birdied the 17th and 18th to improve to three under, while Lawrie was on the same mark after also two-putting the long 18th.

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