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Jamie Donaldson and Justin Rose shared the lead after an opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship that saw both Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have their issues.
Playing for the first time in a tournament with his new Nike equipment, McIlroy recorded two double-bogeys in a disappointing three-over 75 on his seasonal debut.
The Northern Irishman's new stablemate Woods fared slightly better, though his 72 wasn't without the odd error. The world No.2 mixed four birdies with the same number of bogeys, one of them coming at the first hole after a disastrous drive that failed to even reach the fairway.
A level-par effort from Woods means he finds himself some way adrift of Donaldson and Rose, who hold a one-stroke advantage over Dane Thorbjorn Olesen and Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal.
Donaldson, who will make his US Masters debut this year after winning the Irish Open last July, set the early pace, his round of 67 including chipping in from a greenside bunker at the third.
"I played some pretty good golf out there," he said afterwards. "I was more often than not in the short stuff, which you need to around here. The rough is very penal."
Co-leader Rose also holed a bunker shot himself, his effort at the ninth. At that stage the world No.5 found himself on four under, despite having begun his round with a bogey five.
However, the Englishman was unable to find the same type of form on the back nine; he got up and down from another bunker at the long 10th to move into a share of top spot before concluding his day with a run of eight successive pars.
"It's the perfect start to get up on the leaderboard," the 32-year-old said. "I knew it was going to be a tough afternoon (he had watched some of the earlier television coverage) and I felt very good about that score."
Olesen and Larrazabal sit on four under, just ahead of a five-man group that includes David Howell and Henrik Stenson. The two former Ryder Cup players are joined by South African George Coetzee, Wenchong Liang from China and New Zealand's Michael Campbell on three under.
Fresh off being appointed Europe's next Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley signed for a 76 - the same score as the last two men to do the job, Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie.