Adam Scott makes solid start in Dubai
Adam Scott's hopes of a strong finish to last week's Abu Dhabi Championship may have evaporated in the final round but the Australian has bounced back with a solid start to the Dubai Desert Classic.
The 2013 Masters champ had looked set to challenge for the Abu Dhabi title on Sunday until his hopes were sunk over the space of three holes but his impressive form was obvious again on Thursday as he opened up with a three-under par 69 to lie four shots off the lead.
Denmark's 110th-ranked JB Hansen shot a bogey-free seven-under 65 to hold a two-stroke clubhouse lead, showing once again a taste for golf in these parts.
Three months ago, Hansen won the Dubai Championship for the second title of his career and followed that up a week later with a ninth place at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship - also staged in Dubai.
"A bit of shame there wasn't any more tournaments at the end of last year," Hansen said, "but trying to keep it going."
Hansen was upstaging a stacked field at the prestigious European tour event, with the low scoring reflecting the benign conditions at Emirates Golf Club.
Scott birdied three of the last six holes to finish joint-15th for the day alongside his fellow countryman, Maverick Antcliff, the European tour regular who also shot a 69.
Another Australian Lucas Herbert was a shot further back after his 70 but compatriots Scott Hend and Wade Ormsby shot 76s while Jason Scrivener had a 78.
South African Justin Harding was a stroke back on Hansen on six-under when the horn sounded while he was on the 18th fairway, signalling an end to the day's play because of darkness.
Collin Morikawa pressed the reset button on his game after tying for 62nd at the Abu Dhabi Championship last week and saying he didn't know where the ball was going at times.
It certainly worked for the world No. 2 on Thursday, up until the final four holes anyway.
Out among the morning starters, the British Open champion birdied seven of his first 11 holes — including a chip-in at 16 — after starting at the 10th and was leading on seven-under after 14 holes.
Morikawa then bogeyed three of his last four holes, and was in a group on four-under 68 that also contained world No.5 Viktor Hovland.
Morikawa was a stroke behind five players who shot five-under, including 2017 winner Sergio Garcia and Tommy Fleetwood.
Defending champion Paul Casey bogeyed the last for a 70 and Rory McIlroy shot 71, having been three-under after his first five holes.