European Tour

DP World Tour Championship 2018

November 15-18

Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

$8,000,000

Live Leaderboard

November 15-18

Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

$8,000,000

Live Leaderboard

Round 1

Molinari makes steady start in Dubai finale

November 15. 2018

Francesco Molinari made a steady start in his quest to become the first Italian to be crowned European Tour Number One, as the Race to Dubai leader opened with a 68 to sit two shots off the lead at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai - the eighth and final Rolex Series event of the 2018 season.

Molinari makes steady start in Dubai finale, © Getty Images
Tommy Fleetwood & Francesco Molinari

- Getty Images

“It's a shame because I putted really well up until the 14th and then I just misjudged the pace on a couple of those putts and left myself more work to do than I needed to. My game was okay, probably not my best, but putting and short game was very good up until the 14th, and that's how I built the six-under score to that point."

“It was still fun. It's only Thursday, so there are many things that can happen. It's really too early. I think Tommy and I, we didn't really hit the ball our best, but we managed to scramble well and put two solid rounds together.”

Adrian Otaegui of Spain and Englishman Jordan Smith share the first round lead at Jumeirah Golf Estates after carding a pair of six under par rounds of 66, but they will enter day two with a world-class chasing pack breathing down their necks.

“I just hit a lot of good shots today," said Smith. "I didn't really struggle but not a lot happened the first day I was here. Then something clicked and everything started going in which was nice."

“I struggled at the start last week but bounced back and ended up finishing tied 21 st after five-under in the last round. So I've come in with a lot of confidence and just went out there and didn't have any pressures or anything. I just went out and enjoyed it."

“I think you can just take a lot of confidence into the next few days. Me being 44 th in the Race to Dubai, I can go out and go for it, there's not too much pressure. I can just enjoy the next few days and carry on with the same play that I had today.”

Included among them are defending champion Jon Rahm and 2016 Masters Tournament winner Danny Willett, both a shot off the lead on five under par. Molinari, meanwhile, lipped out from two feet at the 18 th for a bogey six to sign for a four under par 68, alongside English pair Ross Fisher and Matt Wallace, China's Li Haotong, and Thomas Pieters of Belgium.

“It was my third chance this year to defend the title," said Rahm. "Earlier in the year at Torrey Pines, I started off great, wasn't able to close it out and finish strong. In Ireland, I almost got it done."

“I'm just continuing the same thing. I am defending champion, I like the thought that I am the only one who can win it two years in a row, so I'm keeping that in mind. But it's really important to keep the ball in the fairway off the tee."

“If I keep hitting good drives like I have today and like I did last year, with decent iron play, I'm going to have a lot of birdie chances. So if I keep hitting the driver like I did today, I'll definitely have a chance Sunday.”

The 2017 Race to Dubai Champion Tommy Fleetwood, who needs a win this week to be in with a chance of retaining that crown, delighted the crowds with a birdie at the last for a bogey-free 69. He joined four-time Major champion and two-time Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy among a group of 12 players on three under par.

Pos.
Player
Nat
To Par
R1
T1
Adrian Otaegui
ESP
-6
66
T1
Jordan Smith
ENG
-6
66
T3
Danny Willett
ENG
-5
67
T3
Jon Rahm
ESP
-5
67
T5
Francesco Molinari
ITA
-4
68
T5
Haotong Li
CHN
-4
68
T5
Matt Wallace
ENG
-4
68
T5
Ross Fisher
ENG
-4
68
T5
Thomas Pieters
BEL
-4
68
T10
Alexander Noren
SWE
-3
69
T10
Andrea Pavan
ITA
-3
69
T10
Hideto Tanihara
JPN
-3
69
T10
Joost Luiten
NED
-3
69
T10
Marcus Kinhult
SWE
-3
69
T10
Mikko Korhonen
FIN
-3
69
T10
Patrick Reed
USA
-3
69
T10
Rafael Cabrera Bello
ESP
-3
69
T10
Rory McIlroy
NIR
-3
69
T10
Tom Lewis
ENG
-3
69
T10
Tommy Fleetwood
ENG
-3
69
T10
Wade Ormsby
AUS
-3
69
T22
Dylan Frittelli
RSA
-2
70
T22
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
THA
-2
70
T22
Lee Westwood
ENG
-2
70
T22
Michael Lorenzo-Vera
FRA
-2
70
T22
Shane Lowry
IRL
-2
70
T22
Thomas Detry
BEL
-2
70
T28
Branden Grace
RSA
-1
71
T28
Chris Paisley
ENG
-1
71
T28
Dean Burmester
RSA
-1
71
T28
Erik Van Rooyen
RSA
-1
71
T28
Henrik Stenson
SWE
-1
71
T28
Matthew Southgate
ENG
-1
71
T28
Robert Rock
ENG
-1
71
T28
Sergio Garcia
ESP
-1
71
T28
Thorbjorn Olesen
DEN
-1
71
T28
Tyrrell Hatton
ENG
-1
71
T28
Xander Schauffele
USA
-1
71
T39
Alexander Bjoerk
SWE
Par
72
T39
Alexander Levy
FRA
Par
72
T39
Andy Sullivan
ENG
Par
72
T39
Ashun Wu
CHI
Par
72
T39
Ian Poulter
ENG
Par
72
T39
Lee Slattery
ENG
Par
72
T39
Martin Kaymer
GER
Par
72
T39
Paul Dunne
IRL
Par
72
T47
Aaron Rai
ENG
1
73
T47
Chris Wood
ENG
1
73
T47
Russell Knox
SCO
1
73
T47
Sam Horsfield
ENG
1
73
T47
Shubhankar Sharma
IND
1
73
T52
Brandon Stone
RSA
2
74
T52
Darren Fichardt
RSA
2
74
T52
Jorge Campillo
ESP
2
74
T52
Lucas Herbert
AUS
2
74
T52
Matthew Fitzpatrick
ENG
2
74
T52
Ryan Fox
NZL
2
74
58
Eddie Pepperell
ENG
3
75
T59
Joakim Lagergren
SWE
4
76
T59
Lucas Bjerregaard
DNK
4
76
Pos.
Player
Nat
To Par
R1
T1
Adrian Otaegui
ESP
-6
66
T1
Jordan Smith
ENG
-6
66
T3
Danny Willett
ENG
-5
67
T3
Jon Rahm
ESP
-5
67
T5
Francesco Molinari
ITA
-4
68
T5
Haotong Li
CHN
-4
68
T5
Matt Wallace
ENG
-4
68
T5
Ross Fisher
ENG
-4
68
T5
Thomas Pieters
BEL
-4
68
T10
Alexander Noren
SWE
-3
69
T10
Andrea Pavan
ITA
-3
69
T10
Hideto Tanihara
JPN
-3
69
T10
Joost Luiten
NED
-3
69
T10
Marcus Kinhult
SWE
-3
69
T10
Mikko Korhonen
FIN
-3
69
T10
Patrick Reed
USA
-3
69
T10
Rafael Cabrera Bello
ESP
-3
69
T10
Rory McIlroy
NIR
-3
69
T10
Tom Lewis
ENG
-3
69
T10
Tommy Fleetwood
ENG
-3
69
T10
Wade Ormsby
AUS
-3
69
T22
Dylan Frittelli
RSA
-2
70
T22
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
THA
-2
70
T22
Lee Westwood
ENG
-2
70
T22
Michael Lorenzo-Vera
FRA
-2
70
T22
Shane Lowry
IRL
-2
70
T22
Thomas Detry
BEL
-2
70
T28
Branden Grace
RSA
-1
71
T28
Chris Paisley
ENG
-1
71
T28
Dean Burmester
RSA
-1
71
T28
Erik Van Rooyen
RSA
-1
71
T28
Henrik Stenson
SWE
-1
71
T28
Matthew Southgate
ENG
-1
71
T28
Robert Rock
ENG
-1
71
T28
Sergio Garcia
ESP
-1
71
T28
Thorbjorn Olesen
DEN
-1
71
T28
Tyrrell Hatton
ENG
-1
71
T28
Xander Schauffele
USA
-1
71
T39
Alexander Bjoerk
SWE
Par
72
T39
Alexander Levy
FRA
Par
72
T39
Andy Sullivan
ENG
Par
72
T39
Ashun Wu
CHI
Par
72
T39
Ian Poulter
ENG
Par
72
T39
Lee Slattery
ENG
Par
72
T39
Martin Kaymer
GER
Par
72
T39
Paul Dunne
IRL
Par
72
T47
Aaron Rai
ENG
1
73
T47
Chris Wood
ENG
1
73
T47
Russell Knox
SCO
1
73
T47
Sam Horsfield
ENG
1
73
T47
Shubhankar Sharma
IND
1
73
T52
Brandon Stone
RSA
2
74
T52
Darren Fichardt
RSA
2
74
T52
Jorge Campillo
ESP
2
74
T52
Lucas Herbert
AUS
2
74
T52
Matthew Fitzpatrick
ENG
2
74
T52
Ryan Fox
NZL
2
74
58
Eddie Pepperell
ENG
3
75
T59
Joakim Lagergren
SWE
4
76
T59
Lucas Bjerregaard
DNK
4
76