Rose & Donaldson Share Lead in Abu Dhabi

England's Justin Rose and Welshman Jamie Donaldson are tied for the lead after 18 holes of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. The $2.7 European Tour event began Thursday at the par-72 Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

The duo posted 5-under 67s to go a stroke up on Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen, Spain's Pablo Larrazabal and China's Wenchong Liang. Five players shot 69 while a half-dozen had 70s.

Starting his round on the 10th tee, fifth-ranked Rose posted one birdie and the rest pars on his front nine. On the inward half, after a bogey on his 10th hole, the 32-year-old reeled off five birdies the rest of the way. Donaldson also had six birdies and a pair of bogeys.

"That was definitely a great start, shooting 5-under," Rose said. "I knew it was going to be a tough afternoon, and certainly the wind picked up even more on the back nine. And I guess it was a good scoring day for me and obviously I could see that no one else in the afternoon had made any sort of run, so I felt very good about that score."

"Solid start, played some pretty good golf out there," noted Donaldson, who's looking for his second career victory on the European Tour after winning last year's Irish Open. "Obviously 5-under is a great start. I played pretty good in most of the round but there were times when it wasn't quite on, we made some good up-and-downs. It was a matter of scoring well and keeping the momentum going."

The two marquee players in the field - No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy and No. 2 Tiger Woods - each got off to inauspicious starts. Equipped with his new clubs from Nike - with which he signed a $250 million, 10-year contract last week, McIlroy carded a 3-over 75 and Woods had a 72.

McIlroy had a birdie, double-bogey and bogey on the par-5 eighth hole on the front side followed by birdie and a double-bogey on the par-3 15th. "When you go out and you've got new stuff, you are going to be a little anxious and hopefully you play well," McIlroy said.

"But I guess I can learn from it and move on and go into tomorrow and try and play a bit better. It's about playing yourself into the weekend."

Despite his even-par start, Woods doesn't feel the tournament is over with by any means. "I'm still right there," said Woods, who was paired in the first round with McIlroy and Germany's Martin Kaymer.

"You know, if I two-putt that last hole I'm in I think 12th or 13th or something like that. There's not a lot of guys going low out there. These fairways are tiny to begin with, but there are a lot of crosswinds."

Other scores included a 71 by Kaymer, who's won three of the past five tournaments in Abu Dhabi. Defending champion Robert Rock got off to a tough start with a 76, and American Jason Dufner posted a 71.

Newly appointed 2014 European Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, opened with a 76.

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