sport

Westwood off to a flyer

Lee Westwood was as good as his word on Friday as he came racing off the blocks in his first start of the season.

England's world number eight, now based in Florida, had spoken about not having his usual rust at this time of year and after 11 holes of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic he was already five under par and joint leader with 56-year-old American Mark O'Meara.

Birdies at the long 10th and 190-yard 15th were followed by a 14-foot eagle putt on the par five 18th and Westwood then converted a 12-foot chance on the second in the perfect conditions.

Former Open champion O'Meara, winner of this title nine years ago and an ever-present since, had five birdies in his first 11 holes.

They had Scotland's Scott Jamieson alongside them for a while, but after opening with an eagle and turning in a five under 32 the early leader of the European Tour money list - that follows a win and a second place in South Africa - bogeyed the 458-yard first.

Instead it was Thai golfer Thongchai Jaidee who made it a three-way tie at the top, while Jamieson was alongside Spain's Ignacio Garrido, who last week appeared in his 500th Tour event.

That came in the Qatar Masters and the winner there, England's Chris Wood was going well again at three under, the same mark as compatriot Paul Casey in another sign of his return to form.

Westwood and O'Meara remained five under after 15 and 16 holes respectively, but the scoring was spectacular and South African Richard Sterne reached seven under after only 11 holes.

He started with two birdies, added another at the long 13th and then had four more in five holes from the 16th to go one ahead of England's 22-year-old Tommy Fleetwood.

Casey birdied the third and fourth and was joint third with Westwood, O'Meara, Italian Matteo Manassero and Jamieson, who hit back from his bogey by pitching close at the second.

Sterne told European Tour Radio: "I knew Ernie had shot 61 quite a while ago

and always thought it would be impossible to get close, but I got as close as

you could.

"Hopefully I'll just keep going and give myself a chance on Sunday.''

Gallacher stated: "It was a bizarre round. I chipped in, then three-putted

from six feet, but I drove it great.

"My driver broke last week, but the new one is working well.''