Saudi International 2019

R4 Dustin Johnson seals Saudi triumph

January 31 - February 03
Royal Greens G&CC, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia
US$3,500,000

Live leaderboard


Round 1, Round 2, Round 3


Dustin Johnson overcame a determined challenge from Haotong Li to win the inaugural Saudi International powered by SBIA by two strokes.

“It feels really good. Any time you can win a professional golf tournament, no matter where it is in the world, it's a big win. I'm honoured to be the champion, and I'm very pleased with the win."

The World Number Three prevailed in a fascinating back nine battle with China's Li at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, birdieing the closing two holes for a round of 67 and a winning total of 19 under par.

Johnson had started the week as one of the tournament favourites, alongside the only two men ahead of him in the Official World Golf Ranking, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka, and he lived up to that billing when he shared the lead with Li going into the final day after rounds of 68, 61 and 65.

“It's been a great week for me coming here, first time coming to Saudi Arabia, first time playing golf here, kind of first for everything.

Absolutely I would come back. I think the event went off fantastically, and I enjoyed the golf course. Obviously, I played it very well. It's a beautiful course and I really like it. I really enjoyed my week this week, and I hope to be back next year.”

He had to come from behind on the back nine though after Li, who carded an astonishing four eagles in his third round, chipped in for birdie on the ninth hole to take a one stroke advantage. Both players then bogeyed the tenth, but while Johnson birdied the next two holes, Li's challenge faltered with bogeys on the 13 th and 14 th before he pulled a shot back on the 15 th .

Johnson's lead was back to just one shot when an errant tee shot led to a bogey on the par three 16 th , but the 2016 US Open Champion hit back with consecutive birdies on the 17 th and 18 th hole to seal his first victory in a regular European Tour event and sixth title overall.

“It was tight, but I made a nice birdie on 11 and 12, so I got the lead back, but it was definitely tight, and then I made it a lot closer at the end than it should have been, hitting it in the water on 16. I followed it up with two really nice birdies on 17 and 18."


Li's birdie on the last for a round of 69 ensured he took second place on his own, ahead of England's Tom Lewis who could not quite sustain the early moment he had built with five birdies in a row to start his final round. Lewis eventually signed for a round of 65 to finish third on 16 under par, with Australia's Min Woo Lee, playing in just his second professional event, finishing a further shot back in fourth courtesy of an impressive 63.

“It was a very good match, especially the front nine when I was playing really good. The back nine, I was just a little bit off. It wasn't my best over there today again. But I learn a lot and especially that last few holes was good for me. I think he deserved to win this event.

“I'm very happy with the week. When I had four holes left, I looked at leaderboard. I had dropped to third place and so I'm very happy to finish solo second.”


Pos.
Player
Nat
To Par
R1
R2
R3
R4
Total
1
Dustin Johnson
USA
-19
68
61
65
67
261
2
Haotong Li
CHN
-17
67
65
62
69
263
3
Tom Lewis
ENG
-16
71
66
62
65
264
4
Min-Woo Lee
AUS
-15
69
70
63
63
265
5
Alexander Levy
FRA
-14
69
65
67
65
266
T6
Joost Luiten
NED
-11
66
71
69
63
269
T6
Bryson DeChambeau
USA
-11
68
68
68
65
269
T6
Ian Poulter
ENG
-11
68
67
68
66
269
T6
Scott Hend
AUS
-11
70
63
69
67
269
T6
Ryan Fox
NZL
-11
67
67
67
68
269
T11
Justin Harding
RSA
-10
65
72
70
63
270
T11
Gavin Green
MAS
-10
68
68
67
67
270
T13
Bradley Dredge
WAL
-9
67
70
72
62
271
T13
Victor Perez
FRA
-9
66
70
71
64
271
T13
Richard Sterne
RSA
-9
66
68
70
67
271
T13
Michael Lorenzo-Vera
FRA
-9
69
71
63
68
271
T13
Ross Fisher
ENG
-9
65
72
65
69
271
T18
Victor Dubuisson
FRA
-8
72
65
69
66
272
T18
Marcus Kinhult
SWE
-8
67
71
67
67
272
T18
Renato Paratore
ITA
-8
65
74
65
68
272
T18
Zander Lombard
RSA
-8
65
67
70
70
272
T22
Yusaku Miyazato
JPN
-7
71
65
70
67
273
T22
Thomas Pieters
BEL
-7
63
74
69
67
273
T24
Matthias Schwab
AUT
-6
69
69
70
66
274
T24
David Lipsky
USA
-6
71
67
69
67
274
T24
Adrian Otaegui
ESP
-6
69
68
69
68
274
T24
Fabrizio Zanotti
PAR
-6
67
66
71
70
274
T24
Chris Paisley
ENG
-6
66
68
70
70
274
T24
Joachim B. Hansen
DEN
-6
67
70
65
72
274
T30
Niklas Lemke
SWE
-5
68
72
69
66
275
T30
Liam Johnston
SCO
-5
70
66
70
69
275
T30
Nino Bertasio
ITA
-5
70
70
64
71
275
T30
Shaun Norris
RSA
-5
66
73
64
72
275
T34
Edoardo Molinari
ITA
-4
69
71
70
66
276
T34
Jake McLeod
AUS
-4
65
70
73
68
276
T34
Andrea Pavan
ITA
-4
71
67
69
69
276
T34
Sam Horsfield
ENG
-4
68
70
69
69
276
T34
Robert Rock
ENG
-4
69
69
69
69
276
T34
Gaganjeet Bhullar
IND
-4
68
72
66
70
276
T34
Matthew Jordan
ENG
-4
73
65
67
71
276
T34
Aaron Rai
ENG
-4
69
70
66
71
276
T42
Jorge Campillo
ESP
-3
66
72
68
71
277
T42
Thomas Detry
BEL
-3
68
70
66
73
277
T44
Robert MacIntyre
SCO
-2
69
70
71
68
278
T44
Robert Karlsson
SWE
-2
68
69
72
69
278
T44
Romain Langasque
FRA
-2
67
70
71
70
278
T44
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
ESP
-2
68
70
69
71
278
T44
Lorenzo Gagli
ITA
-2
67
70
69
72
278
T44
Justin Walters
RSA
-2
66
70
69
73
278
T44
Mikko Korhonen
FIN
-2
68
69
68
73
278
T51
Matthew Southgate
ENG
-1
67
71
71
70
279
T51
Haydn Porteous
RSA
-1
68
70
70
71
279
T51
Paul Dunne
IRL
-1
68
69
70
72
279
T54
Paul Waring
ENG
Par
69
70
73
68
280
T54
Jordan Smith
ENG
Par
69
71
70
70
280
56
Patrick Reed
USA
1
67
71
72
71
281
T57
Jens Dantorp
SWE
2
69
68
76
69
282
T57
Brooks Koepka
USA
2
69
70
74
69
282
T57
Maximilian Kieffer
GER
2
69
69
72
72
282
T57
Trevor Immelman
RSA
2
72
67
71
72
282
T61
Nicolas Colsaerts
BEL
4
70
70
74
70
284
T61
Clement Sordet
FRA
4
71
69
73
71
284
T61
Alfie Plant
ENG
4
65
74
72
73
284
T64
Pablo Larrazabal
ESP
5
67
73
76
69
285
T64
Stuart Manley
WAL
5
73
66
72
74
285
CUT
Adria Arnaus
ESP
1
70
71
-
-
141
CUT
Ashun Wu
CHI
1
67
74
-
-
141
CUT
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
RSA
1
67
74
-
-
141
CUT
David Howell
ENG
1
72
69
-
-
141
CUT
George Coetzee
RSA
1
70
71
-
-
141
CUT
Hyo-Won Park
KOR
1
70
71
-
-
141
CUT
Kurt Kitayama
USA
1
71
70
-
-
141
CUT
Romain Wattel
FRA
1
69
72
-
-
141
CUT
Sean Crocker
USA
1
72
69
-
-
141
CUT
Sebastian Soederberg
SWE
1
72
69
-
-
141
CUT
Stephen Gallacher
SCO
1
70
71
-
-
141
CUT
Alvaro Quiros
ESP
2
72
70
-
-
142
CUT
Ashley Chesters
ENG
2
70
72
-
-
142
CUT
Henrik Stenson
SWE
2
68
74
-
-
142
CUT
Hideto Tanihara
JPN
2
70
72
-
-
142
CUT
Jack Singh-Brar
ENG
2
70
72
-
-
142
CUT
Jeff Winther
SWE
2
69
73
-
-
142
CUT
Justin Rose
ENG
2
70
72
-
-
142
CUT
Matteo Manassero
ITA
2
66
76
-
-
142
CUT
Scott Jamieson
SCO
2
67
75
-
-
142
CUT
Thorbjorn Olesen
DEN
2
70
72
-
-
142
CUT
Todd Clements
ENG
2
71
71
-
-
142
CUT
David Drysdale
SCO
3
71
72
-
-
143
CUT
David Horsey
ENG
3
73
70
-
-
143
CUT
Ernie Els
RSA
3
70
73
-
-
143
CUT
Nacho Elvira
ESP
3
72
71
-
-
143
CUT
Jacques Kruyswijk
RSA
3
71
72
-
-
143
CUT
Richie Ramsay
SCO
3
68
75
-
-
143
CUT
Andy Sullivan
ENG
4
70
74
-
-
144
CUT
Benjamin Hebert
FRA
4
72
72
-
-
144
CUT
Jeung-Hun Wang
KOR
4
71
73
-
-
144
CUT
Lee Westwood
ENG
4
69
75
-
-
144
CUT
Matthieu Pavon
FRA
4
77
67
-
-
144
CUT
Pedro Figueiredo
POR
4
72
72
-
-
144
CUT
Raphael Jacquelin
FRA
4
73
71
-
-
144
CUT
Rayhan Thomas
IND
4
67
77
-
-
144
CUT
Sam Brazel
AUS
4
71
73
-
-
144
CUT
Andres Romero
ARG
5
73
72
-
-
145
CUT
Bernd Ritthammer
GER
5
70
75
-
-
145
CUT
Brandon Stone
RSA
5
74
71
-
-
145
CUT
Kim Koivu
FIN
5
80
65
-
-
145
CUT
Matt Wallace
ENG
5
74
71
-
-
145
CUT
Pelle Edberg
SWE
5
73
72
-
-
145
CUT
Tapio Pulkkanen
FIN
5
71
74
-
-
145
CUT
Thomas Bjorn
DEN
5
73
72
-
-
145
CUT
Eddie Pepperell
ENG
6
71
75
-
-
146
CUT
Joakim Lagergren
SWE
6
74
72
-
-
146
CUT
Alejandro Canizares
ESP
7
69
78
-
-
147
CUT
Bernd Wiesberger
AUT
7
72
75
-
-
147
CUT
David Law
SCO
7
70
77
-
-
147
CUT
Kalle Samooja
FIN
7
75
72
-
-
147
CUT
Steven Brown
ENG
7
75
72
-
-
147
CUT
Grant Forrest
SCO
8
71
77
-
-
148
CUT
Oliver Fisher
ENG
8
73
75
-
-
148
CUT
Dean Burmester
RSA
9
71
78
-
-
149
CUT
James Morrison
ENG
9
75
74
-
-
149
CUT
Soren Kjeldsen
DEN
9
72
77
-
-
149
CUT
Shubhankar Sharma
IND
10
77
73
-
-
150
CUT
Wade Ormsby
AUS
10
73
77
-
-
150
CUT
Erik Van Rooyen
RSA
11
77
74
-
-
151
CUT
Ivan Cantero
ESP
11
76
75
-
-
151
CUT
Lee Slattery
ENG
11
74
77
-
-
151
CUT
Shergo Al Kurdi
JOR
16
73
83
-
-
156
CUT
Saud Al Sharif
KSA
19
79
80
-
-
159
CUT
Othman Al Mulla
KSA
21
80
81
-
-
161
CUT
Abdulrahman Al Mansour
KSA
25
83
82
-
-
165
DSQ
Sergio Garcia
ESP
Par
69
70
-
-
139

Round 3 - Li fires four eagles to share Saudi lead

China's Haotong Li fired four eagles - three of which came on par fours – in a remarkable third round of 62 to share the lead with Dustin Johnson in the Saudi International powered by SBIA.

Li fires four eagles to share Saudi lead, © Getty Images

© Getty Images


“I think it's very, very lucky today. Those eagles, especially last couple shots, was really solid, but except that, honestly, my play, wasn't that good. But I did make a lot of par putts."

Li opened his round by chipping in for two on the first hole and repeated the feat for another eagle two on the tenth. That took him to four under par for the round, after two birdies and double bogey on the sixth hole on the front nine.

“On the first, that ball, the lie, wasn't that great, and firm grain. If it didn't go in the hole, it could have been off the green. It's very lucky eagle over there.

“On 10, that's what I wanted to play, that way, but just I felt like I pushed a little bit. Got a lucky bounce, kicked it left and went in the hole, which is very lucky, too."

He then finished his round in sensational style with back-to-back eagles, holing out from six feet after a fine tee shot on the 17th and from nine feet for a three on the par five last.

“On 17, that was a solid shot and I hit when I want there, so six-foot eagle putt was a little bit nervous. Then the last was another lucky bounce there. I mean, off the tee, I drove the bunker about two yards short to carry the bunker, and it bounced over the bunker, which is lucky. I hit it into nine feet, something, ten feet. Yeah, that was solid putt, actually, quite excited on that one.

“I just want to play my best tomorrow, especially compared to last week. So I just have to put myself in the position hopefully often and I get used to that feeling and play and enjoy myself on the final round.”

The 23 year old shares the lead at Royal Greens Golf and Country club on 16 under par with World Number Three Johnson, who had held a three shot overnight lead.

Johnson's round of 65 was relatively straightforward by comparison, though the American did provide some fireworks of his own when he birdied four consecutive holes from the ninth after earlier picking up shots on the second and fourth.

“I thought I played well. I probably played just as well as I did yesterday. I gave myself a lot of opportunities. I made a lot of good putts but I just holed a few more yesterday than I did today. That's the only difference.

“I heard (about Li's four eagles) when I got done, that's pretty impressive. Four eagles in a golf tournament is pretty good, but four in one round, take that any day.

“For me, I just go out and play like I've been playing and hopefully can roll in a few more putts and see what I can do. Haotong is a good player. He's obviously playing well right now. I think it's going to be kind of a tough match against him tomorrow for the most part, but I'm looking forward to it.”

The pair have a five shot advantage on the rest of the field, with England's Tom Lewis leading the chasing pack after firing eight birdies in his round of 62 to move to 11 under par. A further two shots separate Lewis from New Zealand's Ryan Fox and France's Alexander Levy, both of whom signed for rounds of 67.


Sergio Garcia disqualified from the Saudi International

Sergio Garcia has been disqualified from the third round of Saudi International powered by SBIA under rule 1.2a.

Rule 1.2a allows for disqualification if a player has committed serious misconduct.

Sergio Garcia said: “I respect the decision of my disqualification. In frustration, I damaged a couple of greens, which I apologise for, and I have informed my fellow players it will never happen again.”


Pos.
Player
Nat
To Par
R1
R2
R3
Total
T1
Haotong Li
CHN
-16
67
65
62
194
T1
Dustin Johnson
USA
-16
68
61
65
194
3
Tom Lewis
ENG
-11
71
66
62
199
T4
Ryan Fox
NZL
-9
67
67
67
201
T4
Alexander Levy
FRA
-9
69
65
67
201
T6
Min-Woo Lee
AUS
-8
69
70
63
202
T6
Ross Fisher
ENG
-8
65
72
65
202
T6
Joachim B. Hansen
DEN
-8
67
70
65
202
T6
Scott Hend
AUS
-8
70
63
69
202
T6
Zander Lombard
RSA
-8
65
67
70
202
T11
Michael Lorenzo-Vera
FRA
-7
69
71
63
203
T11
Shaun Norris
RSA
-7
66
73
64
203
T11
Gavin Green
MAS
-7
68
68
67
203
T11
Ian Poulter
ENG
-7
68
67
68
203
T15
Nino Bertasio
ITA
-6
70
70
64
204
T15
Renato Paratore
ITA
-6
65
74
65
204
T15
Thomas Detry
BEL
-6
68
70
66
204
T15
Bryson DeChambeau
USA
-6
68
68
68
204
T15
Chris Paisley
ENG
-6
66
68
70
204
T15
Richard Sterne
RSA
-6
66
68
70
204
T15
Fabrizio Zanotti
PAR
-6
67
66
71
204
T22
Aaron Rai
ENG
-5
69
70
66
205
T22
Marcus Kinhult
SWE
-5
67
71
67
205
T22
Matthew Jordan
ENG
-5
73
65
67
205
T22
Mikko Korhonen
FIN
-5
68
69
68
205
T22
Justin Walters
RSA
-5
66
70
69
205
T27
Gaganjeet Bhullar
IND
-4
68
72
66
206
T27
Jorge Campillo
ESP
-4
66
72
68
206
T27
Thomas Pieters
BEL
-4
63
74
69
206
T27
Lorenzo Gagli
ITA
-4
67
70
69
206
T27
Joost Luiten
NED
-4
66
71
69
206
T27
Adrian Otaegui
ESP
-4
69
68
69
206
T27
Victor Dubuisson
FRA
-4
72
65
69
206
T27
Liam Johnston
SCO
-4
70
66
70
206
T27
Yusaku Miyazato
JPN
-4
71
65
70
206
T36
Robert Rock
ENG
-3
69
69
69
207
T36
Sam Horsfield
ENG
-3
68
70
69
207
T36
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
ESP
-3
68
70
69
207
T36
David Lipsky
USA
-3
71
67
69
207
T36
Andrea Pavan
ITA
-3
71
67
69
207
T36
Paul Dunne
IRL
-3
68
69
70
207
T36
Justin Harding
RSA
-3
65
72
70
207
T36
Victor Perez
FRA
-3
66
70
71
207
T44
Haydn Porteous
RSA
-2
68
70
70
208
T44
Matthias Schwab
AUT
-2
69
69
70
208
T44
Romain Langasque
FRA
-2
67
70
71
208
T44
Jake McLeod
AUS
-2
65
70
73
208
T48
Niklas Lemke
SWE
-1
68
72
69
209
T48
Matthew Southgate
ENG
-1
67
71
71
209
T48
Robert Karlsson
SWE
-1
68
69
72
209
T48
Bradley Dredge
WAL
-1
67
70
72
209
T52
Edoardo Molinari
ITA
Par
69
71
70
210
T52
Jordan Smith
ENG
Par
69
71
70
210
T52
Robert MacIntyre
SCO
Par
69
70
71
210
T52
Trevor Immelman
RSA
Par
72
67
71
210
T52
Patrick Reed
USA
Par
67
71
72
210
T52
Maximilian Kieffer
GER
Par
69
69
72
210
T58
Alfie Plant
ENG
1
65
74
72
211
T58
Stuart Manley
WAL
1
73
66
72
211
60
Paul Waring
ENG
2
69
70
73
212
T61
Clement Sordet
FRA
3
71
69
73
213
T61
Brooks Koepka
USA
3
69
70
74
213
T61
Jens Dantorp
SWE
3
69
68
76
213
64
Nicolas Colsaerts
BEL
4
70
70
74
214
65
Pablo Larrazabal
ESP
6
67
73
76
216
CUT
Adria Arnaus
ESP
1
70
71
-
141
CUT
Ashun Wu
CHI
1
67
74
-
141
CUT
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
RSA
1
67
74
-
141
CUT
David Howell
ENG
1
72
69
-
141
CUT
George Coetzee
RSA
1
70
71
-
141
CUT
Hyo-Won Park
KOR
1
70
71
-
141
CUT
Kurt Kitayama
USA
1
71
70
-
141
CUT
Romain Wattel
FRA
1
69
72
-
141
CUT
Sean Crocker
USA
1
72
69
-
141
CUT
Sebastian Soederberg
SWE
1
72
69
-
141
CUT
Stephen Gallacher
SCO
1
70
71
-
141
CUT
Alvaro Quiros
ESP
2
72
70
-
142
CUT
Ashley Chesters
ENG
2
70
72
-
142
CUT
Henrik Stenson
SWE
2
68
74
-
142
CUT
Hideto Tanihara
JPN
2
70
72
-
142
CUT
Jack Singh-Brar
ENG
2
70
72
-
142
CUT
Jeff Winther
SWE
2
69
73
-
142
CUT
Justin Rose
ENG
2
70
72
-
142
CUT
Matteo Manassero
ITA
2
66
76
-
142
CUT
Scott Jamieson
SCO
2
67
75
-
142
CUT
Thorbjorn Olesen
DEN
2
70
72
-
142
CUT
Todd Clements
ENG
2
71
71
-
142
CUT
David Drysdale
SCO
3
71
72
-
143
CUT
David Horsey
ENG
3
73
70
-
143
CUT
Ernie Els
RSA
3
70
73
-
143
CUT
Nacho Elvira
ESP
3
72
71
-
143
CUT
Jacques Kruyswijk
RSA
3
71
72
-
143
CUT
Richie Ramsay
SCO
3
68
75
-
143
CUT
Andy Sullivan
ENG
4
70
74
-
144
CUT
Benjamin Hebert
FRA
4
72
72
-
144
CUT
Jeung-Hun Wang
KOR
4
71
73
-
144
CUT
Lee Westwood
ENG
4
69
75
-
144
CUT
Matthieu Pavon
FRA
4
77
67
-
144
CUT
Pedro Figueiredo
POR
4
72
72
-
144
CUT
Raphael Jacquelin
FRA
4
73
71
-
144
CUT
Rayhan Thomas
IND
4
67
77
-
144
CUT
Sam Brazel
AUS
4
71
73
-
144
CUT
Andres Romero
ARG
5
73
72
-
145
CUT
Bernd Ritthammer
GER
5
70
75
-
145
CUT
Brandon Stone
RSA
5
74
71
-
145
CUT
Kim Koivu
FIN
5
80
65
-
145
CUT
Matt Wallace
ENG
5
74
71
-
145
CUT
Pelle Edberg
SWE
5
73
72
-
145
CUT
Tapio Pulkkanen
FIN
5
71
74
-
145
CUT
Thomas Bjorn
DEN
5
73
72
-
145
CUT
Eddie Pepperell
ENG
6
71
75
-
146
CUT
Joakim Lagergren
SWE
6
74
72
-
146
CUT
Alejandro Canizares
ESP
7
69
78
-
147
CUT
Bernd Wiesberger
AUT
7
72
75
-
147
CUT
David Law
SCO
7
70
77
-
147
CUT
Kalle Samooja
FIN
7
75
72
-
147
CUT
Steven Brown
ENG
7
75
72
-
147
CUT
Grant Forrest
SCO
8
71
77
-
148
CUT
Oliver Fisher
ENG
8
73
75
-
148
CUT
Dean Burmester
RSA
9
71
78
-
149
CUT
James Morrison
ENG
9
75
74
-
149
CUT
Soren Kjeldsen
DEN
9
72
77
-
149
CUT
Shubhankar Sharma
IND
10
77
73
-
150
CUT
Wade Ormsby
AUS
10
73
77
-
150
CUT
Erik Van Rooyen
RSA
11
77
74
-
151
CUT
Ivan Cantero
ESP
11
76
75
-
151
CUT
Lee Slattery
ENG
11
74
77
-
151
CUT
Shergo Al Kurdi
JOR
16
73
83
-
156
CUT
Saud Al Sharif
KSA
19
79
80
-
159
CUT
Othman Al Mulla
KSA
21
80
81
-
161
CUT
Abdulrahman Al Mansour
KSA
25
83
82
-
165
DSQ
Sergio Garcia
ESP
Par
69
70
-
139

Round 2 - Pieters on top in Saudi International

Dustin Johnson demonstrated his class with a stunning nine under par second round of 61 to lead the inaugural Saudi International powered by SBIA by three shots at the halfway stage.

Dominant Johnson races three clear in Saudi, © Getty Images

© Getty Images


“It was really good. Obviously you always have fun when you're playing well, but I did a lot of the same things I did yesterday. The greens rolled a little bit better today. I felt like I paid a lot more attention to exactly what the putts were going to do and just tried to make sure I just trusted the line that I was playing and made some putts today. I drove it really well and gave myself a lot of opportunities.

“I like the golf course. If I keep driving it like the way I am right now -- I switched to the M6 driver this week, and I really like it. I'm driving it really well right now, so if I keep hitting it in the fairway, I'm going to really like this golf course.”

The American took full advantage of the benign morning conditions at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club to move to 11 under par for the tournament, ahead of China's Haotong Li (65) and South Africa's Zander Lombard (67) who share second place on eight under.

“I am very pleased," said Li. "I played quite solid out there. I'm disappointed with the fourth hole, which is a birdie hole but became a bogey, which is a two-shots there. But I think everything I did very well.

“After a long off-season I'm getting used to start playing again on the course, and I am especially putting very well. Hopefully I can continue this feeling for the weekend.”


Johnson signalled his intent by beginning his round with consecutive birdies after starting on the tenth tee and he added a further five birdies along with an eagle on the par five fourth hole, where he sank a 30ft putt from the fringe.

The World Number Three was in imposing form as he put daylight between himself and the rest of the world class field, which includes last week's Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner Bryson DeChambeau, who goes into the weekend seven shots back on four under par after his second consecutive round of 68.

Reigning Masters Champion Patrick Reed, who was presented with Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour after his round, rallied on the back with three birdies in his final five holes to ensure he will also be in action at the weekend, but he will have to make up nine shots on his Ryder Cup teammate Johnson.

World Number One Justin Rose will be absent for the final two rounds though following a round of 72 which left him on two over par, two shots adrift of the cut.


Pos.
Player
Nat
To Par
R1
R2
Total
1
Dustin Johnson
USA
-11
68
61
129
T2
Zander Lombard
RSA
-8
65
67
132
T2
Haotong Li
CHN
-8
67
65
132
T4
Fabrizio Zanotti
PAR
-7
67
66
133
T4
Scott Hend
AUS
-7
70
63
133
T6
Alexander Levy
FRA
-6
69
65
134
T6
Richard Sterne
RSA
-6
66
68
134
T6
Ryan Fox
NZL
-6
67
67
134
T6
Chris Paisley
ENG
-6
66
68
134
T10
Ian Poulter
ENG
-5
68
67
135
T10
Jake McLeod
AUS
-5
65
70
135
T12
Liam Johnston
SCO
-4
70
66
136
T12
Yusaku Miyazato
JPN
-4
71
65
136
T12
Bryson DeChambeau
USA
-4
68
68
136
T12
Gavin Green
MAS
-4
68
68
136
T12
Victor Perez
FRA
-4
66
70
136
T12
Justin Walters
RSA
-4
66
70
136
T18
Romain Langasque
FRA
-3
67
70
137
T18
Victor Dubuisson
FRA
-3
72
65
137
T18
Adrian Otaegui
ESP
-3
69
68
137
T18
Mikko Korhonen
FIN
-3
68
69
137
T18
Jens Dantorp
SWE
-3
69
68
137
T18
Joachim B. Hansen
DEN
-3
67
70
137
T18
Bradley Dredge
WAL
-3
67
70
137
T18
Joost Luiten
NED
-3
66
71
137
T18
Justin Harding
RSA
-3
65
72
137
T18
Ross Fisher
ENG
-3
65
72
137
T18
Tom Lewis
ENG
-3
71
66
137
T18
Robert Karlsson
SWE
-3
68
69
137
T18
Lorenzo Gagli
ITA
-3
67
70
137
T18
Thomas Pieters
BEL
-3
63
74
137
T18
Paul Dunne
IRL
-3
68
69
137
T33
Matthew Jordan
ENG
-2
73
65
138
T33
Andrea Pavan
ITA
-2
71
67
138
T33
David Lipsky
USA
-2
71
67
138
T33
Maximilian Kieffer
GER
-2
69
69
138
T33
Matthew Southgate
ENG
-2
67
71
138
T33
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
ESP
-2
68
70
138
T33
Marcus Kinhult
SWE
-2
67
71
138
T33
Haydn Porteous
RSA
-2
68
70
138
T33
Matthias Schwab
AUT
-2
69
69
138
T33
Sam Horsfield
ENG
-2
68
70
138
T33
Jorge Campillo
ESP
-2
66
72
138
T33
Robert Rock
ENG
-2
69
69
138
T33
Patrick Reed
USA
-2
67
71
138
T33
Thomas Detry
BEL
-2
68
70
138
T47
Renato Paratore
ITA
-1
65
74
139
T47
Sergio Garcia
ESP
-1
69
70
139
T47
Aaron Rai
ENG
-1
69
70
139
T47
Paul Waring
ENG
-1
69
70
139
T47
Trevor Immelman
RSA
-1
72
67
139
T47
Min-Woo Lee
AUS
-1
69
70
139
T47
Robert MacIntyre
SCO
-1
69
70
139
T47
Stuart Manley
WAL
-1
73
66
139
T47
Alfie Plant
ENG
-1
65
74
139
T47
Shaun Norris
RSA
-1
66
73
139
T47
Brooks Koepka
USA
-1
69
70
139
T58
Jordan Smith
ENG
Par
69
71
140
T58
Pablo Larrazabal
ESP
Par
67
73
140
T58
Clement Sordet
FRA
Par
71
69
140
T58
Gaganjeet Bhullar
IND
Par
68
72
140
T58
Michael Lorenzo-Vera
FRA
Par
69
71
140
T58
Nino Bertasio
ITA
Par
70
70
140
T58
Niklas Lemke
SWE
Par
68
72
140
T58
Nicolas Colsaerts
BEL
Par
70
70
140
T58
Edoardo Molinari
ITA
Par
69
71
140
CUT
Adria Arnaus
ESP
1
70
71
141
CUT
Ashun Wu
CHI
1
67
74
141
CUT
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
RSA
1
67
74
141
CUT
David Howell
ENG
1
72
69
141
CUT
George Coetzee
RSA
1
70
71
141
CUT
Hyo-Won Park
KOR
1
70
71
141
CUT
Kurt Kitayama
USA
1
71
70
141
CUT
Romain Wattel
FRA
1
69
72
141
CUT
Sean Crocker
USA
1
72
69
141
CUT
Sebastian Soederberg
SWE
1
72
69
141
CUT
Stephen Gallacher
SCO
1
70
71
141
CUT
Alvaro Quiros
ESP
2
72
70
142
CUT
Ashley Chesters
ENG
2
70
72
142
CUT
Henrik Stenson
SWE
2
68
74
142
CUT
Hideto Tanihara
JPN
2
70
72
142
CUT
Jack Singh-Brar
ENG
2
70
72
142
CUT
Jeff Winther
SWE
2
69
73
142
CUT
Justin Rose
ENG
2
70
72
142
CUT
Matteo Manassero
ITA
2
66
76
142
CUT
Scott Jamieson
SCO
2
67
75
142
CUT
Thorbjorn Olesen
DEN
2
70
72
142
CUT
Todd Clements
ENG
2
71
71
142
CUT
David Drysdale
SCO
3
71
72
143
CUT
David Horsey
ENG
3
73
70
143
CUT
Ernie Els
RSA
3
70
73
143
CUT
Nacho Elvira
ESP
3
72
71
143
CUT
Jacques Kruyswijk
RSA
3
71
72
143
CUT
Richie Ramsay
SCO
3
68
75
143
CUT
Andy Sullivan
ENG
4
70
74
144
CUT
Benjamin Hebert
FRA
4
72
72
144
CUT
Jeung-Hun Wang
KOR
4
71
73
144
CUT
Lee Westwood
ENG
4
69
75
144
CUT
Matthieu Pavon
FRA
4
77
67
144
CUT
Pedro Figueiredo
POR
4
72
72
144
CUT
Raphael Jacquelin
FRA
4
73
71
144
CUT
Rayhan Thomas
IND
4
67
77
144
CUT
Sam Brazel
AUS
4
71
73
144
CUT
Andres Romero
ARG
5
73
72
145
CUT
Bernd Ritthammer
GER
5
70
75
145
CUT
Brandon Stone
RSA
5
74
71
145
CUT
Kim Koivu
FIN
5
80
65
145
CUT
Matt Wallace
ENG
5
74
71
145
CUT
Pelle Edberg
SWE
5
73
72
145
CUT
Tapio Pulkkanen
FIN
5
71
74
145
CUT
Thomas Bjorn
DEN
5
73
72
145
CUT
Eddie Pepperell
ENG
6
71
75
146
CUT
Joakim Lagergren
SWE
6
74
72
146
CUT
Alejandro Canizares
ESP
7
69
78
147
CUT
Bernd Wiesberger
AUT
7
72
75
147
CUT
David Law
SCO
7
70
77
147
CUT
Kalle Samooja
FIN
7
75
72
147
CUT
Steven Brown
ENG
7
75
72
147
CUT
Grant Forrest
SCO
8
71
77
148
CUT
Oliver Fisher
ENG
8
73
75
148
CUT
Dean Burmester
RSA
9
71
78
149
CUT
James Morrison
ENG
9
75
74
149
CUT
Soren Kjeldsen
DEN
9
72
77
149
CUT
Shubhankar Sharma
IND
10
77
73
150
CUT
Wade Ormsby
AUS
10
73
77
150
CUT
Erik Van Rooyen
RSA
11
77
74
151
CUT
Ivan Cantero
ESP
11
76
75
151
CUT
Lee Slattery
ENG
11
74
77
151
CUT
Shergo Al Kurdi
JOR
16
73
83
156
CUT
Saud Al Sharif
KSA
19
79
80
159
CUT
Othman Al Mulla
KSA
21
80
81
161
CUT
Abdulrahman Al Mansour
KSA
25
83
82
165

Round 1 - Pieters on top in Saudi International

Thomas Pieters fired a seven under par round of 63 to open up a two shot lead from a group of six players after the first round of the Saudi International powered by SBIA.

Pieters on top in Saudi International, © Getty Images

© Getty Images


The three-time European Tour winner carded seven birdies and no bogeys at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club to pull clear of English duo Alfie Plant and Ross Fisher, South African pair Zander Lombard and Justin Harding, Italian Renato Paratore and Australian Jake McLeod.

“I hit my wedges and short irons really close to the hole," said Pieters. "I think I had maybe ten good chances for birdie and made seven of them. It's a very good day on the greens, as well. Long putts, as well. It's tricky because the greens are not that fast. I think I did everything pretty well today.

“My game is pretty decent. I haven't clicked all the right parts together yet. I hit it great in Abu Dhabi and lost a bit of the putting there on the weekend. I think if I can just keep doing what I'm doing, and one of these weeks, the putts will drop and hopefully have another good result.”

Pieters' last victory came in the 2016 Made in Denmark – a month before he made his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine – but the Belgian feels his game is moving in the right direction so far in 2019, following top 30 finishes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai this month.


Plant, who is playing on a sponsor's invite, had set the early pace after a superb run of seven birdies in eight holes to finish a front nine of 28 after starting on the tenth tee. But the former Walker Cup player dropped two shots in his final four holes to slip back to the group on five under par where he was joined by Lombard, who produced the finish of the day with four consecutive birdies to close his 65.

“I didn't realise I was on 28, actually, until I've just come in," said Plant. "I've never shot 28 before on the front nine or back nine. I enjoyed it. I was hitting them close. I holed one from 30 feet early on and everything was inside six feet. The wind definitely got up through our back nine.”

Reigning Masters Champion Patrick Reed made a steady start with a three under par round of 67, while the world's top three players, Justin Rose (70), Brooks Koepka (69) and Dustin Johnson (68) have some ground to make up on Pieters.

“We had it calm this morning and knew tomorrow afternoon obviously the wind is going to pick up, so you had to take advantage of the golf course this morning," said Rose. "I had the opportunity to hit a lot of shots close to the hole and couldn't make the putts. Collectively, our group was probably the worst putting round I've seen for three professional golfers in a long, long time but the greens were very tricky, very, very grainy. It was tough to factor it in. I certainly missed ten putts probably within six to ten feet range. You make half of those and it's a good round of golf.”


Pos.
Player
Nat
To Par
R1
1
Thomas Pieters
BEL
-7
63
T2
Alfie Plant
ENG
-5
65
T2
Justin Harding
RSA
-5
65
T2
Ross Fisher
ENG
-5
65
T2
Jake McLeod
AUS
-5
65
T2
Zander Lombard
RSA
-5
65
T2
Renato Paratore
ITA
-5
65
T8
Shaun Norris
RSA
-4
66
T8
Victor Perez
FRA
-4
66
T8
Joost Luiten
NED
-4
66
T8
Jorge Campillo
ESP
-4
66
T8
Justin Walters
RSA
-4
66
T8
Chris Paisley
ENG
-4
66
T8
Matteo Manassero
ITA
-4
66
T8
Richard Sterne
RSA
-4
66
T16
Joachim B. Hansen
DEN
-3
67
T16
Marcus Kinhult
SWE
-3
67
T16
Bradley Dredge
WAL
-3
67
T16
Ashun Wu
CHI
-3
67
T16
Lorenzo Gagli
ITA
-3
67
T16
Patrick Reed
USA
-3
67
T16
Ryan Fox
NZL
-3
67
T16
Scott Jamieson
SCO
-3
67
T16
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
RSA
-3
67
T16
Rayhan Thomas
IND
-3
67
T16
Fabrizio Zanotti
PAR
-3
67
T16
Romain Langasque
FRA
-3
67
T16
Haotong Li
CHN
-3
67
T16
Matthew Southgate
ENG
-3
67
T16
Pablo Larrazabal
ESP
-3
67
T31
Gaganjeet Bhullar
IND
-2
68
T31
Haydn Porteous
RSA
-2
68
T31
Sam Horsfield
ENG
-2
68
T31
Niklas Lemke
SWE
-2
68
T31
Henrik Stenson
SWE
-2
68
T31
Robert Karlsson
SWE
-2
68
T31
Thomas Detry
BEL
-2
68
T31
Paul Dunne
IRL
-2
68
T31
Richie Ramsay
SCO
-2
68
T31
Dustin Johnson
USA
-2
68
T31
Bryson DeChambeau
USA
-2
68
T31
Ian Poulter
ENG
-2
68
T31
Mikko Korhonen
FIN
-2
68
T31
Gavin Green
MAS
-2
68
T31
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
ESP
-2
68
T46
Matthias Schwab
AUT
-1
69
T46
Michael Lorenzo-Vera
FRA
-1
69
T46
Robert Rock
ENG
-1
69
T46
Brooks Koepka
USA
-1
69
T46
Lee Westwood
ENG
-1
69
T46
Alejandro Canizares
ESP
-1
69
T46
Jeff Winther
SWE
-1
69
T46
Edoardo Molinari
ITA
-1
69
T46
Jordan Smith
ENG
-1
69
T46
Romain Wattel
FRA
-1
69
T46
Alexander Levy
FRA
-1
69
T46
Maximilian Kieffer
GER
-1
69
T46
Sergio Garcia
ESP
-1
69
T46
Adrian Otaegui
ESP
-1
69
T46
Aaron Rai
ENG
-1
69
T46
Paul Waring
ENG
-1
69
T46
Jens Dantorp
SWE
-1
69
T46
Min-Woo Lee
AUS
-1
69
T46
Robert MacIntyre
SCO
-1
69
T65
Nino Bertasio
ITA
Par
70
T65
Stephen Gallacher
SCO
Par
70
T65
George Coetzee
RSA
Par
70
T65
Justin Rose
ENG
Par
70
T65
Bernd Ritthammer
GER
Par
70
T65
Nicolas Colsaerts
BEL
Par
70
T65
Hideto Tanihara
JPN
Par
70
T65
David Law
SCO
Par
70
T65
Scott Hend
AUS
Par
70
T65
Liam Johnston
SCO
Par
70
T65
Thorbjorn Olesen
DEN
Par
70
T65
Adria Arnaus
ESP
Par
70
T65
Andy Sullivan
ENG
Par
70
T65
Ernie Els
RSA
Par
70
T65
Jack Singh-Brar
ENG
Par
70
T65
Hyo-Won Park
KOR
Par
70
T65
Ashley Chesters
ENG
Par
70
T82
Tom Lewis
ENG
1
71
T82
David Drysdale
SCO
1
71
T82
Eddie Pepperell
ENG
1
71
T82
Jeung-Hun Wang
KOR
1
71
T82
Grant Forrest
SCO
1
71
T82
Jacques Kruyswijk
RSA
1
71
T82
Tapio Pulkkanen
FIN
1
71
T82
Todd Clements
ENG
1
71
T82
Andrea Pavan
ITA
1
71
T82
Kurt Kitayama
USA
1
71
T82
Yusaku Miyazato
JPN
1
71
T82
David Lipsky
USA
1
71
T82
Dean Burmester
RSA
1
71
T82
Sam Brazel
AUS
1
71
T82
Clement Sordet
FRA
1
71
T97
David Howell
ENG
2
72
T97
Sean Crocker
USA
2
72
T97
Bernd Wiesberger
AUT
2
72
T97
Alvaro Quiros
ESP
2
72
T97
Soren Kjeldsen
DEN
2
72
T97
Victor Dubuisson
FRA
2
72
T97
Sebastian Soederberg
SWE
2
72
T97
Pedro Figueiredo
POR
2
72
T97
Trevor Immelman
RSA
2
72
T97
Benjamin Hebert
FRA
2
72
T97
Nacho Elvira
ESP
2
72
T108
Thomas Bjorn
DEN
3
73
T108
Shergo Al Kurdi
JOR
3
73
T108
Oliver Fisher
ENG
3
73
T108
David Horsey
ENG
3
73
T108
Matthew Jordan
ENG
3
73
T108
Andres Romero
ARG
3
73
T108
Pelle Edberg
SWE
3
73
T108
Raphael Jacquelin
FRA
3
73
T108
Wade Ormsby
AUS
3
73
T108
Stuart Manley
WAL
3
73
T118
Brandon Stone
RSA
4
74
T118
Joakim Lagergren
SWE
4
74
T118
Matt Wallace
ENG
4
74
T118
Lee Slattery
ENG
4
74
T122
Steven Brown
ENG
5
75
T122
Kalle Samooja
FIN
5
75
T122
James Morrison
ENG
5
75
125
Ivan Cantero
ESP
6
76
T126
Matthieu Pavon
FRA
7
77
T126
Erik Van Rooyen
RSA
7
77
T126
Shubhankar Sharma
IND
7
77
129
Saud Al Sharif
KSA
9
79
T130
Kim Koivu
FIN
10
80
T130
Othman Al Mulla
KSA
10
80
132
Abdulrahman Al Mansour
KSA
13
83
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