A Scot is leading the Abu Dhabi Championship after the first round. Almost logical, since it is on the Yas Links that the event takes place. And on this real false links with very distant British hints, Jamieson offered himself nine birdies without the slightest error. At 38, the 108th in the 2021 Race has not lifted a single trophy since 2012 and his success in South Africa.
« It’s been eight weeks since I played a single tournament, he said at the microphone of the European Tour. So you never really know what to expect when you restart. But this birdie on my first hole set the tone for a very solid day. »
Here he is leading one of the most important tournaments of the year, ahead of players like Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian with a smile wider than his shoulders – however thick _ is only a small blow behind after a 64 (-8) marred by a single error at 12 (bogey). Thomas Pieters also sparked on the Yas Links on Thursday. The Belgian is in 3rd place at -7 without missing any green in regulation.
Six games could not go to completion in this first part interrupted by the night.
Perez already on the hunt
Victor Perez was part of the very first group to start this tournament at 7:20. And after only 7 holes, the French n°1 was already at -7! Five birdies and an eagle for a go in 29 shots, another birdie at 14 to drop a time to -8, but two bogeys at 15 and 18 pushed the Tarbais back to 4th place.
A rank he shares with defending champion Tyrrell Hatton, Ian Poulter, James Morrisson and the Japanese Takumi Kanaya, who signed two eagles on his first six holes!
Brun and Levy well launched
Of the six other French representatives involved, Julien Brun and Alexander Levy are the only two to be in the Top 20 after this first day. The former resident of the Challenge Tour signs a first blank card for the slightest bogey for a very serious 69 (-3). Same score but with a little more animated way for Levy. The five-time winner on the European Tour compiled six birdies and three bogeys on Thursday.
Victor Dubuisson and Frédéric Lacroix (the other promoted from the Challenge Tour) are only one shot behind the duo, in 38th place. Romain Langasque plays in par for 77th. Finally, a tasteless day for Antoine Rozner, who signs a card above par. The Parisian is 118th at +3.
Note that Matthieu Pavon tested positive for Covid the day before the first round and was therefore unable to show up at the start. This is the second package for the same reason in the blue clan, after that of Julien Guerrier, Tuesday.
What else to remember?
After a recent and very serious health alert, Nicolas Colsaerts arrived in Abu Dhabi without many landmarks or great expectations. The Belgian let his clubs do the talking to post a refreshing first 70.
Rory McIlroy did not have a very incisive day. The Northern Irishman passed the first leg in 37 shots (+1) before scoring two birdies in quick succession on 13 and 14. His bogey on 18 prevented him from beating the course.
A first day which was not very brilliant either for the top seed of the tournament. World No. 2 Collin Morikawa started his day with a birdie, but he finished with a score above par (73, +1) for a provisional 90th place.