Published January 13, 2015
Justin Rose and Jamie Donaldson both opened with 5-under 67s on Thursday and they share the first- round lead at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Rose bogeyed his opening hole, but rallied with six birdies in his next nine holes. Donaldson also had six birdies and a bogey in his opening round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Thorbjorn Olesen and Pablo Larrazabal are one stroke off the lead at minus-4.
The top two players in the world, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, were paired together in the opening round.
McIlroy struggled to a 3-over 75, while Woods stumbled to a 3-putt bogey on No. 9, his last, for an even-par 72.
The duo started on the back nine, and McIlroy had a birdie and a double-bogey in his first nine holes. He got back to even-par with a birdie at the second. However, the reigning PGA Championship winner faltered to another double-bogey at the third after his drive went out of bounds.
McIlroy made a mess of the par-5 eighth. He dropped a shot there, then parred the ninth to finish at plus-3.
"I didn't drive it particularly well and didn't hole any putts," said McIlroy. "I feel I was just a little bit rusty."
Woods tripped to a bogey on No. 13 after his drive found a bush. He birdied three of four holes from the 15th, including a 40-footer at 15, to make the turn at minus-2. Woods, who topped his drive at the first, stumbled to back- to-back bogeys at the first and second.
After five pars in a row, Woods sank an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-5 eighth. He faltered to a 3-putt bogey at the last to finish off an even-par round.
"It's tough out there. Every hole is crosswind and it was a day to survive. You've really got to control your ball," said Woods. "The rough's up and it's imperative to keep the ball in the fairway."
Woods and McIlroy struggled off the tee in the opening round as they combined to hit just 11 fairways.
Rose, world No. 5, tripped to a bogey at the first, but came right back with birdies at two and three. He moved to 2-under with a birdie at the fifth.
The five-time winner on the European Tour poured in three consecutive birdies from the eighth to grab a share of the lead at 5-under, and finished there as he parred the final eight holes.
"I think if I'm completely honest, I didn't have it completely under control today with the long game," Rose stated. "It didn't feel perfect. I think it was the nature of the day, very difficult to hit every shot perfectly out there. I think it was the kind of day that you have to accept there were going to be some mistakes."
Donaldson started on the back nine and opened with a birdie on No. 10. He remained there with seven pars in a row before a birdie at the 18th left him at minus-2.
The Welshman ran off three birdies in a 4-hole span from the second to jump into the lead at 5-under. Donaldson stumbled to a bogey at the sixth, but he erased that mistake with a birdie on the par-3 seventh and parred the last two.
"I played some pretty good golf out there. It's a tough day. The wind is blowing a little. Not as hard as yesterday, but still a little wind here makes the golf course very difficult," Donaldson said. "I hit quite a lot of good shots, and more often than not in the short stuff, which you need to be around here. The rough is very penal."
Henrik Stenson, the 2008 runner-up, carded a 3-under 69. He was joined in fifth place by former U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, David Howell, George Coetzee and Wen-Chong Liang.
Jeev Milkha Singh and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano are among six players tied for 10th at minus-2. Jason Dufner, Ernie Els and three-time winner Martin Kaymer, who played with Woods and McIlroy, are in a group at 1-under 71.
NOTES: Defending champion Robert Rock struggled to a 4-over 76 ... He stands alongside the last two European Ryder Cup captains, Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal, as well as the newly named European captain, Paul McGinley.