Swede overshadows McIlroy's bid for Dubai Desert Classic history

Alex Noren leads the Omega Dubai Desert Classic after firing an opening round 6 under par, 66. The Swede, who finished runner-up 12 months ago, boasts a one shot overnight lead after a round that included six birdies and no bogeys. The 33-year-old was unsurprisingly delighted with his day's work around the Majlis course. "I'm very happy. I hit a lot of good shots and a few bad ones, but I got away with them," said Noren. "I didn't really expect it [the round]. But that makes it even better."

Alex Noren

Defending champion Rory McIlroy is among the chasing pack on four under alongside three-time winner Ernie Els. McIlroy, making his 10th appearance at the event, was content with his day's work. "I started the round so quickly so to shoot something in the 60s today was very pleasing. All in all I felt it was a good round of golf," said the Northern Irishman.

Rory McIlroy

Spaniard Alvaro Quiros winner of the tournament in 2011, is also on four under, two behind the leader and one behind compatriot Rafael Cabrera-Bello, himself a former Dubai Desert Classic champion in 2012, on five under. Other notable players include Henrik Stenson (-3), amateur Bryson DeChambeau (-2) and European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke (-1). Play gets underway on Friday morning at 7.15am with the leader Noren out at 12.55, half an hour after McIlroy embarks on his second round as he bids to clinch a third Dubai title.

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