Els sets Tiger target

Ernie Els made the ideal start to the Dubai Desert Classic as he chases an unprecedented fourth title at the Emirates Golf Club.

Ernie Els made the ideal start to the Dubai Desert Classic as he chases an unprecedented fourth title at the Emirates Golf Club.

With Tiger Woods not teeing off until the afternoon, Els is in a position to build a commanding lead for the world number one to catch.

The South African teed off from the 10th and though he carded a bogey on the 11th, an eagle on the 12th and four birdies meant he completed his outward nine at five-under.

Alongside him was Spaniard Jose Manuel Lara, who also enjoyed a fine run on his first nine holes, carding five birdies without dropping a shot.

Phillip Archer, who led the way in the first round of Abu Dhabi Golf Championship two weeks ago, was one shot behind after carding five birdies and one bogey.

Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood and Paul McGinley were all on three under after enjoying a faultless run on the back nine, with three birdies each.

David Howell was making his return to a golf course after a six-week break and was making good progress, posting two successive birdies from the 10th.

He dropped a shot on the 12th but recovered to card a birdie on the 18th and was two-under after nine holes.

Nick Dougherty will be looking for an improvement coming home after he made par on the front nine, featuring a birdie on the third but a bogey on the seventh.

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