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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 April 2019

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA: Day 1 as it happened - Shane Lowry equals course record

All the news from Abu Dhabi Golf Club as Irishman Lowry holds a three-shot advantage after the first of the four rounds

Wrapping up for the day

18.10pm So, that is it for the opening day of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. It has been Shane Lowry's day as the Irishman leads on -10 after equalling Henrik Stenson's course record of 62.

But, it was a day of low scoring all across the field with 13 players within five shots of his top spot.

Lowry tees off his second round at 12.25pm on Thursday.

Join us here again from 7.30am on Thursday for more updates to see if Lowry can hold on to his advantage.

Lowry wanted to go even lower

17.45 The Irishman admitted he let his mind wander to the fabled score of 59. Find out what tournament leader Lowry had to say after his first round as Paul Radley reports from Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Shane Lowry and caddie Brian Martin after completing the first round at the 2019 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. Getty Images
Shane Lowry and caddie Brian Martin after completing the first round at the 2019 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. Getty Images

Flagstick in or out?

17.35 It's been the biggest talking point of all the new rules to be introduced for the start of the season: to leave the flagstick in, or take it out?

Four star players in Abu Dhabi - Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, and Dustin Johnson - addressed the rule on the practice greens.

Larrazabal finishes in style

17.25 You have to give credit to Pablo Larrazabal for not allowing himself to be overcome by the delight of his stunning eagle of the 16th hole.

He had been three under at the time, but the two shots gained on the 16th were followed by birdies on the 17th and the 18th to allow him to card a 65.

He is part of a quartet with Louis Oosthuizen, Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Richard Sterne who are all on -7, three shots off leader Shane Lowry.

There are still a couple of groups on the course but no one looks capable of challenging the top places.

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Larrazabal holes out on 16

16.25 Shot of the day goes to Spain's Pablo Larrazabal, who holes out from the rough on 16 to move to five-under.

State of play

16.10 With around 90 minutes left of action the last pairings are now on the back nine as the opening day of the 14th staging of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.

It looks unlikely that anyone is going to threaten Shane Lowry's grip on top spot on -10.

But Martin Kaymer, who knows a thing or two about performing well in Abu Dhabi having won it three times in the past, is looking in good nick again. He is four shots off the lead on -6 and still has three more holes to play today.

Englishman Steven Brown has picked up three birdies in a row to be -4 under after 10 holes and in a position to really kick on.

Not everyone has found the course to be low scoring. Henrik Stenson went around in 72 and he is now back at the driving range as he looks to find his form for Thursday's second round.

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Poulter's fine start to 2019

15.00 Ian Poulter had a lot to celebrate at the Ryder Cup in September as he helped Europe regain the trophy.

The Englishman looks to be starting 2019 in style as he is -5 after 11 holes and in a tie for eighth spot as the first day of action at Abu Dhabi Golf Club begins to wind down.

Lee Westwood remains the best of the afternoon players at present on -6, that effort still leaving him four shots off clubhouse leader Shane Lowry.

Pablo Larrazabal is also having an impressive opening. The Spaniard reaching the turn in -4.

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Westwood and Kaymer on the move

14.20 The afternoon pairings are now on the course. All faced with the tough challenge of trying to hunt down clubhouse leader Shane Lowry, who is the clubhouse leader thanks to his effort of 62, which equalled the course record.

Lee Westwood has built on his good start with a birdie at the seventh to move to five under, while three-time winner Martin Kaymer has got out of the traps well himself and is -4 after seven holes.

Westwood starts well as a desert fox takes centre stage

13.30 It is the quiet after the storm. Shane Lowry is in the clubhouse as leader after his round of 62, which equalled the course record.

Most of the early starters have now completed their first round and for the majority of the leading names in Brooks Koepka (-5), Dustin Johnson (-3) and defending champion Tommy Fleetwood (-3) it has been a solid start.

The afternoon pairings are now on the course and the best of them so far is Lee Westwood. The Englishman is on -4 after just five holes, with birdies coming at the first four holes.

Meanwhile, an unexpected guest at the course today has been a desert fox, who has run around close to the action and even been on a couple of the greens.

A desert fox is seen at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. Getty
A desert fox is seen at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. Getty

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Lowry equals course record

12.45 Well, that is pretty special. Shane Lowry gets the applause of the spectators at Abu Dhabi Golf Club as he equals the course record with a round of 62.

His 10-under effort was split evenly between five birdies on the front nine and five on the back nine.

It matches Henrik Stenson's effort in the inaugural staging of the event in 2006.

Lowry had the chance to break the record with a birdie putt on the 18th, but he was unable to sink the putt and had to be happy with matching Stenson.

He is three shots clear of Louis Oosthuizen at the top of the leaderboard.

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Oosthuizen the early clubhouse leader

12.10 After three holes of his opening round in Abu Dhabi it was not looking good for Louis Oosthuizen. The South African was two shots down after a double bogey at his third hole (the 12th hole as he started at the 10th).

But he hit back and nine birdies in his final 13 holes have left him in a promising position at -7 going into Friday's second round.

He is still two shots off the lead of Irishman Shane Lowry. A birdie on his 16th hole has moved him clear again on -9 with two holes to play.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Soren Kjeldsen are both a further shot back on -6, with Brooks Koepka and Alexander Bjork on -5.

Two birdies in the final two holes have added some gloss to Dustin Johnson's day. The American ending the round on -3.

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Lowry three shots clear of Oosthuizen

11:25 Shane Lowry is on an absolute streak at the moment. The Irishman has birdied his past four holes to move to -8 after 13 holes of his first round.

He is three ahead of Louis Oosthuizen, who has picked up seven shots in 12 holes after he had bogeyed the third hole of his round to be +2 over at that stage.

World No 2 Brooks Koepka is -4 after 14 holes, and he shares third spot with Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Richard Sterne and Soren Kjeldsen.

Tommy Fleetwood is -2 after 14 holes, the defending champion off to a solid start at this stage.

After a slow start that saw no birdies in his first 10 holes, world No 3 Dustin Johnson is now -1 with three holes to play.

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Lowry on the charge as Oosthuizen bounces back

10:55 The birdies keep on piling up for Irishman Shane Lowry who has hit six of them in his first 10 holes to build up a two-shot lead on -6.

Brooks Koepka, Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Louis Oosthuizen are all on -4. Oosthuizen's efforts are particularly impressive as he double bogeyed his third hole, but has since roared back with six birdies, the latest two on his 12th and 13th holes getting him up to the share of second spot.

To find out more about the Abu Dhabi Golf Club course check out our hole-by-hole guide here.

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Koepka and Lowry set the pace

10.05 It continues to be a good start to the day for Koepka, who is looking to become only the third American, after Chris DiMarco and Rickie Fowler, to win the event.

The world No 2 is -4 after nine holes of his first round, and he shares the lead with Irishman Shane Lowry.

Fleetwood, the defending champion, remains in touch on -2, having picked up his third birdie of the day at the 18th hole, which is his ninth after he started at the 10th.

Johnson is +1 after 10 holes, while it has been a tough start for UAE amateur Saif Thabet, who is +4 after five holes.

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Trio out in front in early stages

09.45 Brooks Koepka is part of a trio sharing the lead in the early stages of the action at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

The American is -3 after eight holes of his first round, and Matt Wallace and Shane Lowry are both on the same score.

Tommy Fleetwood, the defending champion, is back to -1 after he bounced back from bogeying his sixth hole with a birdie at the next hole.

It has been a fairly underwhelming start for Dustin Johnson however. The world No 3 is still on +1 after eight holes, his round made up of seven pars and a bogey on his fourth hole.

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Lorenzo-Vera leads as Koepka moves up

09.20 World No 2 Brooks Koepka had spoken confidently of his chances of a first Abu Dhabi title before the event and he has backed up his words.

A birdie at his sixth hole of the round has the three-time major winner up to -2 in a group of five players in second spot.

Leading is Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera. Three birdies in his first five holes has given him an one-shot lead on -3.

Tommy Fleetwood has dropped a shot to fall back to level par after six holes, while Henrik Stenson bounced back from his double bogey at the fourth hole of his round with a birdie at the sixth to get back to level as well.

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Early problems for Johnson and Stenson

09.00 We have two early co-leaders in Robert MacIntyre and Mike Lorenzo-Vera, who are both -2 early in their opening round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Defending champion Tommy Fleetwood and world No 2 Brooks Koepka will both be content with their respective starts, with both men on -1 after four holes.

Two men who will not be are Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson. The world No 3 is +1 after bogeying his fourth hole, while Stenson after starting with a birdie on his second hole, then double bogeyed his fourth hole (the 13th as he started at the 10th) to also be on +1.

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MacIntyre leads as Fleetwood and Koepka start well

08.30 So we have been going for over an hour and it is Scotsman Robert MacIntyre who is the early leader on -2 after hitting birdies on two of the opening four holes.

There are 11 players behind him on -1. That includes defending champion Tommy Fleetwood, who birdied his opening hole, Brooks Koepka, and Henrik Stenson.

It has been a bad start for Louis Oosthuizen however. The 2010 British Open winner double bogeyed the 12th hole, his third hole having started at the 10th, and he is +2.

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Good start for Scotland

08.00 We have our first birdies of the tournament and it has been a good start for Scotland.

Scottish duo Robert MacIntyre and Richie Ramsay have both birdied their first hole and they are co-leaders on -1.

Obviously very early on here and a lot of golf to be played. Defending champion Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson are all out on the course as well this morning so there should be lots of early action.

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The action at Abu Dhabi Golf Club has started

07.20 Good morning! The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA is under way.

The 14th staging of the tournament at Abu Dhabi Golf Club got started at 7.20am with the first players hitting the course.

Tommy Fleetwood is seeking to make history this week by becoming the first player to win the event three years on the trot.

The Englishman won the title for the first time in 2017 and then repeated the feat 12 months ago as he beat Ross Fisher by two shots.

He faces stiff opposition though with a stellar field lined up for the competition, led by the respective world No 2 and No 3, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson.

Fleetwood is paired with Koepka and Tyrell Hatton for the first two rounds. They start from the 10th tee at 7.40am.

Johnson is with fellow major winners Louis Oosthuizen and Henrik Stenson in a group that begin at 7.30am, also on the 10th tee.

Follow all the action from the sixth event of the 2019 European Tour season here, with regular updates from all four days of the competition before the latest winner of the Falcon Trophy is crowned on Saturday afternoon.

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Read more

Tommy Fleetwood eyes hat-trick of Abu Dhabi titles - but process trumps outcome

Brooks Koepka 'still the same me' after rise to superstardom since last appearance in Abu Dhabi

Find out who makes the first-round pairings and what tee times are

Paul Radley: Five players to watch at Abu Dhabi Golf Championhip

Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood added to Abu Dhabi Championship

Saif Thabet books place in Abu Dhabi as top Emirati amateur

When is Abu Dhabi Championship? Lowdown on 2019 event

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Updated: January 16, 2019 06:10 PM

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