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Flawless Hansen two clear in Dubai

The 31 year old, whose sole European Tour win came at the 2020 Joburg Open, has been in a solid run of form with four consecutive top 25 finishes, but at 85th on the Race to Dubai he needs either a victory or second place if he is to force his way into next week’s season-ending Rolex Series event, the DP World Tour Championship.

Hansen finished with back-to-back birdies to move two clear of four players tied on seven under par: English pair Andy Sullivan and Paul Waring, South African Dean Burmester and defending champion Antoine Rozner of France.

Ryder Cup player Tommy Fleetwood is a further shot back on six under par after a round of 66 that included eight birdies and two bogeys.

Meanwhile, United Arab Emirates amateur Ahmad Skaik, who hit the opening tee shot, posted the lowest round on the European Tour by an Emirati golfer, signing for a four under par 68.

Player Quotes

JB Hansen: “I had some good practice days with my coach here the last few days, my game yesterday looked solid, good warm up on the range today and had confidence going out there and it showed itself out there.

“I loved it, no wind, perfect conditions and lovely to play in. I kept the ball in play, hit a lot of fairways in the first 14 holes but I holed the putts I needed, missed a few ones but you can’t hole them all.

“The greens are quite soft and they stop pretty quick when it’s not down grain so you’ve got a lot of opportunities when you’re hitting from fairway.

Antoine Rozner: “I know I’ve played well here in the past so that gives me a bit of confidence, but at the end you just start over. I’ve played well these last few weeks, my ball striking has been good and on this course that’s key.

“I’m in good form and maybe being back here brings the good vibes in me and I’m just aggressive out here so it’s been good.”

Dean Burmester: “Just solid today, I made a good save straight into the sun down the tenth. It was quite tricky, we couldn’t see any of the balls landing. I made a nice eight-footer from there and pretty much holed everything except for the last hole so it was nice.

“Putting was solid, driving was great overall. I think I’m upwards of 70 per cent of fairways today which for me is world class so if I can keep doing that this week we’ll see what happens come Sunday.

Andy Sullivan: “I just got the putter going. I’ve been working hard the last couple of weeks with my team and changed my coach for the long game two weeks ago. It’s not been the best of seasons for me so far this year so I was almost trying to make a change to get ready for next year but I saw good signs last week in my long game and been working hard on my putting. It’s always somewhere I seem to come and putt well and today as definitely one of those days.

Paul Waring: “I had the ball under a lot of control. I hit some great tee shots and just managed myself really well. I didn’t give myself much to do with the putter until my 17th when I holed a long one. The rest was just solid golf shots.

“I’ve been playing ok. I’ll be honest with you, I struggled a lot mentally over the Covid period. I think that’s been one of the major factors for me. With everything opening up a little more and having more freedom in our daily lives, I’ve definitely felt better for it. I started playing better around Wentworth and I feel like I’ve been knocking on the door. Not fantastic results, but getting better.”

Tommy Fleetwood: “I drove it well. I did a lot of very good things. There were a couple of sloppy things out there that you would like to, on a really good day when you feel like you can get it going, you would rather not do. “But overall off the tee I felt pretty confident, in a good space. I felt a lot of good tee shots and gave myself a good chance of scoring. It’s a scorable morning and you can see by the scores, but you’ve still got to go out there and do it. You’ve got to hit the shots and hole some putts so I’m happy with the start.

Ahmad Skaik:  “It’s hard to put it into words how it feels. I really could trust my game out there today which feels amazing, I think I hit 16 greens, so I felt in control of the ball.

“To see my Dad’s smile at the end there means everything. My goal coming into this week was to make the cut and that remains the same, I’ve made a good start, but I need to now keep my head down and do more of the same tomorrow.”

Round One scores

63 J HANSEN (DEN),

65 P WARING (ENG), D BURMESTER (RSA), A ROZNER (FRA), A SULLIVAN (ENG),

66 F LAPORTA (ITA), Z LOMBARD (RSA), C SHINKWIN (ENG), T FLEETWOOD (ENG), D FICHARDT (RSA),

67 M LORENZO-VERA (FRA), S HORSFIELD (ENG), S CROCKER (USA), B WIESBERGER (AUT), A QUIROS (ESP), T OLESEN (DEN), D COUPLAND (ENG), J GUERRIER (FRA), T DETRY (BEL), B HEBERT (FRA), J SCRIVENER (AUS), K SAMOOJA (FIN), M LEE (AUS), N LEMKE (SWE), K BROBERG (SWE),

68 J MORRISON (ENG), M KORHONEN (FIN), M ARMITAGE (ENG), R MACINTYRE (SCO), G MIGLIOZZI (ITA), R MCGOWAN (ENG), S HEND (AUS), A CHESTERS (ENG), A SKAIK (AM) (UAE), P HARRINGTON (IRL), P CASEY (ENG), M KIEFFER (GER),

69 N ELVIRA (ESP), D VAN TONDER (RSA), M KAWAMURA (JPN), A BJ?RK (SWE), M KAYMER (GER), A CA?IZARES (ESP), D GAVINS (ENG), T LEWIS (ENG), A LEVY (FRA), S JAMIESON (SCO), O FARR (WAL), F ZANOTTI (PAR), J SMITH (ENG), S SODERBERG (SWE), E MOLINARI (ITA), R LANGASQUE (FRA), H PORTEOUS (RSA), M PAVON (FRA), J CATLIN (USA), M JORDAN (ENG), G FORREST (SCO), R SANTOS (POR), R ROUSSEL (FRA),

70 S SHARMA (IND), J HARDING (RSA), R CABRERA BELLO (ESP), D LAW (SCO), T PULKKANEN (FIN), J LAGERGREN (SWE), V PEREZ (FRA), S GALLACHER (SCO), R SCIOT-SIEGRIST (FRA), L BJERREGAARD (DEN), J SENIOR (ENG), N COLSAERTS (BEL), J JANEWATTANANOND (THA), S GARCIA RODRIGUEZ (ESP),

71 J CALDWELL (NIR), C WOOD (ENG), N BERTASIO (ITA), R RAMSAY (SCO), J CAMPILLO (ESP), D HORSEY (ENG), J LUITEN (NED), O WILSON (ENG), S V?LIM?KI (FIN), J STALTER (FRA), D DRYSDALE (SCO),

72 A MERONK (POL), S BROWN (ENG), J WINTHER (DEN), T BJ?RN (DEN), M WALLACE (ENG), O FISHER (ENG), M KINHULT (SWE), D HOWELL (ENG), P FIGUEIREDO (POR), G GREEN (MAS), D WHITNELL (ENG), J WALTERS (RSA), C PIGEM (ESP),

73 M WARREN (SCO), E PEPPERELL (ENG), J SURI (USA), G PORTEOUS (ENG), R FISHER (ENG),

74 J VEERMAN (USA), R KARLBERG (SWE),

75 B POKE (DEN), C SYME (SCO), A OTAEGUI (ESP), L VAN MEIJEL (NED),

76 R MCEVOY (ENG), C SORDET (FRA), A COCKERILL (CAN),

77 C PAISLEY (ENG),

79 R PARATORE (ITA)

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