Birdie spree gives Perez 1-stroke lead at Tour finale

Birdie spree gives Perez 1-stroke lead at Tour finale

DUBAI • Victor Perez yesterday carded a five-under 67 to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour’s season finale, in Dubai.

The Frenchman sank six birdies, offset by a bogey on the par-three fourth at the Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course, to lead Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick, Erik van Rooyen of South Africa and Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre who were all tied for second.

A closely contested first round saw Perez use a fairway wood to birdie the 14th from off the green before taking the lead at the 17th when he drained a long birdie putt from the edge of the green.

“As always on these tough courses, tough pins today, they really put up a good set-up with some of the pins,” he said. “It was just about holing a few good putts, driving the ball well, doing everything fairly well but obviously, making a few putts.

“In the position I’m in, I have nothing to lose. I have everything to gain. So for me it’s really a going-for-it mentality that I have to keep for four rounds… It’s a matter of making a lot of birdies.”

Four golfers – the English duo of Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton, Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Finn Sami Valimaki – were tied for fifth a shot further back.

Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters champion who is looking to become the first American to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai title, is three shots behind Perez.

At US$3 million (S$4 million), the DP World Tour Championship offers the single biggest prize of any individual tournament in golf, making it more lucrative than even the Majors.

Whoever is top of the standings after the event concludes on Sunday will take home US$2 million as the Race to Dubai winner.

REUTERS

DP WORLD TOUR C’SHIP

Day 2: StarHub Ch204, 3pm