Omega Dubai Desert Classic R1

Thomas Pieters takes 1-shot lead

January 23-26
Emirates GC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
$3,250,000
Round 2, Round 3, Round 4


Bryson DeChambeau believes he will possess a “scary combo” of distance and accuracy if he can get the latter under control after starting the defence of his Omega Dubai Desert Classic title with an opening 70.


DeChambeau carded a winning total of 24 under par as he cruised to a seven-shot victory last year, but a repeat of such scoring appears unlikely at a venue boasting narrower fairways and thicker rough.

Only 29 players in the 132-strong field at Emirates Golf Club managed to break par, with Belgium’s Thomas Pieters leading the way with a five-under-par 67 to hold a one-shot lead over American David Lipsky.

England’s Eddie Pepperell was part of a 12-man group on three under, with DeChambeau a stroke further back following a round containing four birdies and two bogeys.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic R1 - Thomas Pieters takes lead
Thomas Pieters. (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“It’s playing at least four shots harder a day (than last year) if it was to stay like this, no doubt,” the world number 17 told Sky Sports. “The fairways are tightened up.

“It’s a very, very good test of golf and you have to make sure your wedge game is on and your iron play out of the rough is on because you’re going to be in there.

“I’m still working on the driver, it’s a work in progress, but it will be a work in progress until I can get the right stuff in my hands.”

DeChambeau opted to add considerable muscle mass during the off-season in a bid to increase the distance he hits the ball and feels it is a move which will pay significant dividends.

“The shot I hit on five, it was off line but it was still so far up there that I had a wedge in my hand,” DeChambeau said of a wayward tee shot which still led to a birdie.


“At six I hit it 350 (yards) just into the first cut. I hit it really far, I can do that and now it’s just about controlling it and if I can control it it’s going to be a scary combo.”

Pieters has always been one of the longest hitters in the game but it was the former Ryder Cup star’s iron play which proved crucial as he raced to the turn in 32 and then recovered from dropping three shots in two holes with a hat-trick of birdies from the fifth.

“My drivers and three woods weren’t very good today but somehow I found the greens and if I did hit a fairway I took advantage of it,” said Pieters, who won a record four points on his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine in 2016.


“I played the par threes very well which means I’m hitting my irons good as I did last week and I just rolled in a few putts, which was nice.

“I’ve been working on my putting really hard and wanted to see some progress. I saw that today and hopefully we can keep it up. I’m looking forward to the next three days.”

Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington and former Masters champion Sergio Garcia are four shots off the lead after rounds of 71, while Open champion Shane Lowry returned a level-par 72 and pre-tournament favourite Tommy Fleetwood struggled to a 75.


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Hero World Challenge R1

Tours
By GT Editor
Pos.
Player
Nat
To Par
R1
1
Thomas Pieters
BEL
-5
67
2
David Lipsky
USA
-4
68
T3
Ashun Wu
CHI
-3
69
T3
Dean Burmester
RSA
-3
69
T3
Eddie Pepperell
ENG
-3
69
T3
Kalle Samooja
FIN
-3
69
T3
Kurt Kitayama
USA
-3
69
T3
Lucas Herbert
AUS
-3
69
T3
Masahiro Kawamura
JPN
-3
69
T3
Matthieu Pavon
FRA
-3
69
T3
Robert Karlsson
SWE
-3
69
T3
Romain Langasque
FRA
-3
69
T3
Shaun Norris
RSA
-3
69
T3
Soren Kjeldsen
DEN
-3
69
T15
Bryson DeChambeau
USA
-2
70
T15
Erik Van Rooyen
RSA
-2
70
T15
Romain Wattel
FRA
-2
70
T15
Sebastian Heisele
GER
-2
70
T19
Ian Poulter
ENG
-1
71
T19
Jack Singh-Brar
ENG
-1
71
T19
Jayden Schaper
RSA
-1
71
T19
Julien Guerrier
FRA
-1
71
T19
Justin Harding
RSA
-1
71
T19
Louis Oosthuizen
RSA
-1
71
T19
Padraig Harrington
IRL
-1
71
T19
Sebastian Soederberg
SWE
-1
71
T19
Sergio Garcia
ESP
-1
71
T19
Viktor Hovland
NOR
-1
71
T19
Zander Lombard
RSA
-1
71
T30
Adria Arnaus
ESP
Par
72
T30
Adrian Otaegui
ESP
Par
72
T30
Benjamin Hebert
FRA
Par
72
T30
Graeme McDowell
NIR
Par
72
T30
Henrik Stenson
SWE
Par
72
T30
Joost Luiten
NED
Par
72
T30
Jordan Smith
ENG
Par
72
T30
Martin Kaymer
GER
Par
72
T30
Matthias Schwab
AUT
Par
72
T30
Miguel Angel Jimenez
ESP
Par
72
T30
Oliver Fisher
ENG
Par
72
T30
Sam Horsfield
ENG
Par
72
T30
Sean Crocker
USA
Par
72
T30
Shane Lowry
IRL
Par
72
T30
Taehee Lee
KOR
Par
72
T45
Brandon Stone
RSA
1
73
T45
Callum Shinkwin
ENG
1
73
T45
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
RSA
1
73
T45
Gaganjeet Bhullar
IND
1
73
T45
Gavin Green
MAS
1
73
T45
Grant Forrest
SCO
1
73
T45
Nacho Elvira
ESP
1
73
T45
Pablo Larrazabal
ESP
1
73
T45
Renato Paratore
ITA
1
73
T45
Richie Ramsay
SCO
1
73
T45
Scott Hend
AUS
1
73
T45
Stephen Gallacher
SCO
1
73
T45
Tapio Pulkkanen
FIN
1
73
T45
Thomas Detry
BEL
1
73
T45
Tom Lewis
ENG
1
73
T45
Victor Perez
FRA
1
73
T61
David Drysdale
SCO
2
74
T61
Matthew Fitzpatrick
ENG
2
74
T61
Matthew Southgate
ENG
2
74
T61
Matthiam Keyser
RSA
2
74
T61
Michael Lorenzo-Vera
FRA
2
74
T61
Mikko Korhonen
FIN
2
74
T61
Niklas Noergaard Moeller
DEN
2
74
T61
Nino Bertasio
ITA
2
74
T61
Robert MacIntyre
SCO
2
74
T61
Robert Rock
ENG
2
74
T61
Scott Jamieson
SCO
2
74
T61
Thomas Aiken
RSA
2
74
T61
Wade Ormsby
AUS
2
74
T74
Alvaro Quiros
ESP
3
75
T74
Ashley Chesters
ENG
3
75
T74
David Law
SCO
3
75
T74
Fabrizio Zanotti
PAR
3
75
T74
Guido Migliozzi
ITA
3
75
T74
Haydn Porteous
RSA
3
75
T74
James Morrison
ENG
3
75
T74
Joachim B. Hansen
DEN
3
75
T74
Lorenzo Gagli
ITA
3
75
T74
Marcus Kinhult
SWE
3
75
T74
Oliver Wilson
ENG
3
75
T74
Rasmus Hoejgaard
DEN
3
75
T74
Richard Sterne
RSA
3
75
T74
Ross Fisher
ENG
3
75
T74
Tommy Fleetwood
ENG
3
75
T89
Andrea Pavan
ITA
4
76
T89
Andrew Johnston
ENG
4
76
T89
Benjamin Poke
DNK
4
76
T89
Bernd Wiesberger
AUT
4
76
T89
Chris Paisley
ENG
4
76
T89
Danny Willett
ENG
4
76
T89
Edoardo Molinari
ITA
4
76
T89
Jazz Janewattananond
THA
4
76
T89
Jeff Winther
SWE
4
76
T89
Jorge Campillo
ESP
4
76
T89
Rafael Cabrera Bello
ESP
4
76
T89
Ryan Fox
NZL
4
76
T101
Aaron Rai
ENG
5
77
T101
Alexander Bjoerk
SWE
5
77
T101
David Horsey
ENG
5
77
T101
Jason Scrivener
AUS
5
77
T101
Joshua Hill
ENG
5
77
T101
Matt Wallace
ENG
5
77
T101
Maximilian Kieffer
GER
5
77
T101
Nicolas Colsaerts
BEL
5
77
T101
Paul Lawrie
SCO
5
77
T101
Paul Waring
ENG
5
77
T101
Shubhankar Sharma
IND
5
77
T101
Steven Brown
ENG
5
77
T113
Daniel Gaunt
AUS
6
78
T113
Haotong Li
CHN
6
78
T113
Justin Walters
RSA
6
78
T113
Lee Westwood
ENG
6
78
T113
Richard McEvoy
ENG
6
78
T118
Ahmed Marjan
MOR
7
79
T118
Chris Wood
ENG
7
79
T118
Jeung-Hun Wang
KOR
7
79
T118
Joakim Lagergren
SWE
7
79
T118
Raphael Jacquelin
FRA
7
79
T123
David Howell
ENG
8
80
T123
Harry Konig
ENG
8
80
T125
Alexander Levy
FRA
9
81
T125
Shugo Imahira
JPN
9
81
T125
Victor Dubuisson
FRA
9
81
128
George Coetzee
RSA
10
82
T129
Graeme Storm
ENG
11
83
T129
Othman Al Mulla
KSA
11
83
DSQ
Andy Sullivan
ENG
Par
77
RET
Thomas Bjorn
DEN
Par