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Westwood makes fine start in Dubai

ESPN staff
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Lee Westwood impressed with his iron play once again © Getty Images
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Dubai Desert Classic Leaderboard

Lee Westwood opened his 2013 season in fine style, carding a 67 to put himself firmly in the mix at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Westwood has a decent record on the Emirates Golf Club track and he found his range early on. As ever, his driving and iron play were excellent and he also holed some putts to put himself well up the leaderboard.

The world No. 8 made his move early in his round, opening with a birdie on his first competitive hole of the year, with a superb eagle on the 18th, his ninth, the highlight.

The putter went a little cold on the closing holes, but his round remained blemish free and a round of five-under left him well placed.

"I made some nice putts and probably played better today than towards the end of last year, so I am really pleased," Westwood told Sky Sports.

Mark O'Meara is in the veteran stage of his career and the 56-year-old is likely to spend a lot of time on the Seniors Tour. But he proved there is still a spring in the step with a round of 67 to leave him alongside Westwood.

Westwood and O'Meara are four shots adrift of Richard Sterne who crafted a superb 62 to take the early clubhouse lead, while last week's European Tour winner Chris Wood opened his challenge with a 68.

Paul Casey is showing signs of a return to form and he carded a 66, with his one blemish coming with a bogey on his final hole. On a day when scoring was possible, Casey was joined on six-under by Matteo Manassero.

There is a lot of class congregated towards the top of the leaderboard, but they are all chasing Sterne who produced some sizzling play in his round of 62 which leaves him at the top of the leaderboard at 10-under.

Sergio Garcia, runner-up last week, carried the positive form into Dubai as he carded a solid 68, while Colin Montgomerie showed up well with a 69 - the same score as Tom Lewis.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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