|-seven M Fitzpatrick (Eng), T Hatton (Eng); -6 To Noren (Sweden); -5 In Arnaus (Thermes)|
|Others selected: -4 T Fleetwood (Eng), C Shinkwin (Eng); -3 R Ramsay (Sco); -2 R MacIntyre (Sco), J Rahm (Spa); -1 R McIlroy (NI)|
English duo Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton tied the lead with seven under par after opening day of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Hatton held the lead before bogeying on the final hole to card a 65 at Jumeriah Golf Estates.
US Open champion Fitzpatrick, who won the season-ending event in 2016 and 2020, could yet end the season as Europe’s number one.
Swede Alexander Noren is one stroke behind the leader after a 66.
World number one Rory McIlroy, who currently tops the Europe-based DP World Tour leaderboard, opened his challenge with a 71 under par.
Last week’s winner Tommy Fleetwood of England is four under alongside compatriot Callum Shinkwin, with Richie Ramsay one stroke further and fellow Scot Robert MacIntyre two under with Jon Rahm of Spain.
Fitzpatrick came third in this European ranking and got off to an impressive start with five birdies in the first five holes.
He made seven total in the first round while Hatton carded eight.
“I think the biggest thing I’m happy about today was hitting 17 greens, and the one I missed I was a complete idiot,” Fitzpatrick said.
“That’s the big thing I was happy about today – that I kept giving myself chances and that I rode well too.”
On his first birdie, he added: “I was laughing, to be honest. I literally said to [caddie] bowl [Foster] yesterday, ‘when we won in 2020, we didn’t do four in a row?’.
“And then we did four in a row, then we laughed about it and I did a fifth. It was a good start to the day.”