Poulter, Kaymer among early leaders in Dubai

Dubai, November 19

Germany’s Martin Kaymer and England’s Ian Poulter are among four players tied for the lead after Thursday’s first day of the DP World Tour Championship, the $8 million finale of the European season.

The Ryder Cup teammates carded 66 and are joined on six-under by another Englishman, Andy Sullivan, and Australia’s Marcus Fraser. Rory McIlroy, who began the day top of Europe’s money list and is aiming to be the continent’s top earner for a third year in four, is two shots further back on 68 after chipping in from the bunker to birdie the final hole.

Poulter did not drop a shot as he claimed three birdies on the front nine and three more after the turn. “I took care of the par-fours and the par-threes. I just didn’t really take care of the par-fives,” Poulter, 39, told reporters, after squandering three birdie opportunities, missing 15-foot putts on holes two and 18 and a four-footer on seven.

Kaymer escaped with a bogey after finding water on the par-three sixth hole, while a run of five birdies on the final eight holes was marred only by another dropped shot on 16 as early-starting players found it easier to score low before a desert wind whipped up in the afternoon.

World No 133 Fraser is an unlikely front-runner and will hope to improve on his record of two top-10 tour finishes this year despite a bogey on the 16th which pulled him back into the chasing pack.

Italy’s Francesco Molinari is five-under, while World No 3 McIlroy is one of eight players a shot further back, in a pack that also includes England’s Danny Willett, the Northern Irishman’s main rival to win the Race to Dubai.

The top 15 players on the tour, also known as the European money list, will share an additional $5m based on their overall season performance.