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England's Rose one off Dubai lead as Fleetwood falters

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Justin Rose
DP World Tour Championship, first-round leaderboard
-7 P Reed (US); -6 J Rose (Eng), S Hend (NZ); -5 M Fitzpatrick (Eng), P Dunne (Ire), A Bjork (Swe), A Fox (NZ), F Zanotti (Par), A Levy (Fra)
Selected others: -4 A Sullivan (Eng), D Horsey (Eng); -3 S Lowry (Ire); -2 S Garcia (Spa); +1 T Fleetwood (Eng)

England’s Justin Rose is one shot off the lead after a six-under-par 66 first round at the European Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship in Dubai.

Rose sits second in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai behind countryman Tommy Fleetwood, who shot a one-over-par 73 on Thursday, with Sergio Garcia third.

Rose, 37, needs a top-five finish this week to have a chance of adding to the order of merit crown he won in 2007.

American Patrick Reed leads after a seven-under-par 65.

Olympic champion Rose birdied the second and seventh and bounced back from a three-putt bogey on the ninth to birdie 10 and 11.

He then carded an eagle at the par-five 14th and finished with another birdie on the last to close within one stroke of Reed at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

“I was keen to come out and try and get going as quick as I could,” Rose told Sky Sports. “Let’s tee up tomorrow and keep going.”

‘Rosey hardly missed a shot’

Fleetwood, who has a lead of 256,738 points over Rose, double-bogeyed the first and saw a back nine littered with bogeys as he finished on 73.

“It looks worse when I’m playing with Rosey and he hardly missed a shot,” said the 26-year-old.

“I let it slip, had a good birdie chance at 18, but the luxury of golf is you have three more rounds to go.”

To win the Race to Dubai, Garcia needs a victory and for Fleetwood to finish outside the top 20 and Rose to finish outside the top four.

The Spaniard began his tournament with back-to-back bogeys, but recovered to finish five shots off the lead on two under par.

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick is in contention at five under, while Andy Sullivan carded a four-under-par 68 two years after he led the competition after 54 holes before being denied by Rory McIlroy.

“I wouldn’t say Rory robbed me but I definitely have some unfinished business here so it would be nice to finish one off,” said Sullivan.

Analysis

BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter

Justin Rose showed his world class credentials by shifting huge pressure onto the man he is hunting down for the Race to Dubai.

The Olympic champion provided little sign of falling from the elevated level that brought titles in Shanghai and Turkey in his last two appearances. When you are playing well things happen, such as his holed bunker shot for eagle on the fourteenth.

By contrast, Tommy Fleetwood seemed cowed by the demands of leading the Race into the final tournament.

He admits he was nervous at the start and gave the rest a three-stroke advantage with a double bogey at the first and another dropped shot on the third.

The 26-year-old is now in an awkward position of needing to attack over the next three days without pressing a self-destruct button.

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