Dubai, Jan 26 (IANS) Thomas Pieters was the man to catch at the top of the leader board when the first round of the weather-affected opening day of the Dubai Desert Classic was suspended due to fading light on Thursday. But at 5-under through 15 holes he still had three more to play.
India’s lone man in the field, Shubhankar Sharma, who was due to start, did not get to start and will begin play on Friday morning. He could have a long day with his second round also due.
England’s Daniel Gavins had sat alongside Pieters when the hooter sounded but opted to finish up at the 18th in near-darkness and surrendered a bogey to join the large group on four under.
Gavins and countrymen Oliver Wilson and Matthew Jordan signed for 68s to set the early clubhouse target, while last week’s winner Victor Perez, Tommy Fleetwood and Patrick Reed were also on four under with a few holes remaining.
Heavy overnight rain meant all tee times were delayed by six hours and five minutes on day one, with play finally getting under way at 13.15 local time.
Only 12 players managed to complete their first rounds before the daylight ran out.
Belgian Pieters suffered the disappointment of missing the cut at last week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as his title defence fell flat. He bounced back brilliantly at the season at Emirates Golf Club, carding six birdies and a single bogey in his first 15 holes to get to five under par.