Tiger Woods’ six under par round of 66 was enough to leave him in the lead of the Dubai Desert Classic, but far from satisfied.
Play at the Emirates Golf Club was held up by 55 minutes due to fog, but when the murky conditions gave way to bright sunshine, the American was immediately on his game, even if his eventual clubhouse lead of one stroke was not as big as it perhaps should have been.
Starting on the back nine, Woods fired off an eagle at the 10th when he hit his second shot from the fairway to six feet, which he holed.
He then birdied four of his next six holes before giving a rare demonstration of fallibility with a bogey at the 18th.
Three birdies on the bounce sent him to 13 under, but he then found the water at the fourth, causing him to take a double bogey.
A birdie then another bogey left him at 11 under, and irritated.
“I turned a great round into a round,” he rued. “It was frustrating. I played eight holes really well. Overall, I’m in position, probably a few strokes behind where I should be.”
Denmark’s Anders Hansen’s seven birdies today put him level with overnight leader Retief Goosen, of South Africa, with both of them tied at 10 under with their rounds drawing to a close.
Peter Lawrie, of Ireland, finds himself just two shots shy of Woods after a six under par 66, that saw him shoot seven birdies and only one bogey.
He is level with Dane Soren Hansen, who carded a 65, the lowest score of the day, but England’s Nick Dougherty had homed in with four birdies in his round to lie at nine under with seven holes to go.
Woods’ playing partners Darren Clarke, of Northern Ireland, and Swede Henrik Stenson were not in position to profit from the 10-time major winner’s rare errors.
Clarke was broadly solid, dropping just one shot, and ended on eight under, but Stenson bogeyed twice in shooting a 70 to leave himself four strokes off Woods.
Colin Montgomerie’s opening day woes have shown no sign of abating and a double bogey at his third hole and then a bogey two holes later, plus another at the 10th, left the Scot in danger of missing the cut at six over.