Shane Lowry’s opening round 69 means he is four shots off overnight Matt Fitzpatrick at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Lowry followed up his prestigious Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last weekend with a three-under par round, with consecutive bogeys at the fifth and sixth a blot on the copybook.
Paul Dunne, was on course for an opening 69 of his own until a bogey on the 10th, his final hole saw him sign for a two-under 70.
Fitzpatrick however is the man to catch and the Englishman birdied five of his last six holes to card an opening seven-under-par 65 and finish a shot ahead of an eight-strong group which included former Masters champion Sergio Garcia, world number five Bryson DeChambeau and England's Callum Shinkwin.
Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and defending champion Li Haotong were among nine players a shot further back as 74 players in the 132-man field broke par at Emirates Golf Club.
Fitzpatrick's 65 was his lowest opening round since the 2015 British Masters at Woburn, an event he went on to win to claim the first of his five European Tour titles to date.
"It was obviously a great finish to the round," Fitzpatrick said. "A couple of things that I've been doing in the off-season looked to have paid off a little bit.
"I added a bit of extra length to my driver so it's given me a few yards to help get on in two on the last (the par-five 18th) because I've never been able to do that. And then just wedging it a lot better has given me a few more chances coming in."