ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Charl Schwartzel took a one-stroke lead Thursday at the Abu Dhabi Championship with an 8-under 64 in the first round.
The South Africa had nine birdies – eight in the first 12 holes – to lead Padraig Harrington by one shot.
U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell shot 66 and finished with five straight birdies. He’s tied with Swedish pair Alexander Noren and Niclas Fasth.
Defending champion Martin Kaymer had a 67 and Lee Westwood finished with a 69. Masters champion Phil Mickelson was seven shots behind the leader.
Schwartzel won the Joburg Open last week.