South Africa’s Dawie van der Walt stole the clubhouse honors at the US$2.5 million Qatar Masters with a dazzling seven-under-par 65 at the Doha Golf Club yesterday.
Van der Walt, who won the Nelson Mandela Championship earlier this month, shot a bogey-free round to lead by one stroke midway through the first round in the 17th edition of the tournament.
Spaniards Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Elviro Nacho had a 66 each and are tied in second place along with France’s Francois Calmels, while India’s Gaganjit Singh Bhullar was a further one shot down on five-under. However, the Indian had played only 15 holes so far.
Van der Walt had two birdies over his first nine holes and began his back nine with an eagle on the 591-yard first hole. He followed it with two consecutive birdies to set the pace on a day where the action began 30 minutes late due to fog.
The 115kg giant then picked up three more shots to set himself up nicely for the rest of the event.
Spaniard Nacho also had a bogey-free round, while Frenchman Calmels’ dropped two shots that somewhat blotted an otherwise spectacular round in which he had six birdies and an eagle.
Meanwhile, Steve Webster was already four-under after five holes, beginning proceedings with a sensational albatross on the 10th.