Date: January 18, 2008

Rookie takes to the Desert

European Tour Rookie of the Year Martin Kaymer produced a strong start to the Dubai Desert Classic as Australian Adam Scott finished the first round tied for third in Abu Dhabi. Kaymer&aposs opening six-under 66, though, helped the German take a one stroke lead over previous champion Henrik Stenson from Sweden as Scott and Stenson&aposs compatriot Robert Karlsson found themselves a further stroke adrift. Kaymer, the 2006 Order of Merit winner on the third tier European Professional Development Tour, made a brilliant start to his first tournament since winning the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year accolade, with an eagle three at his first hole, the 10th. The 23-year-old dropped his only shot of the round at the par three 15th before quickly regaining the stroke three holes later to reach the turn at two under par. Four birdies on the front nine followed to hand Kaymer a slender lead over Dubai-based Stenson. “I have had a long break since playing at the World Cup eight or nine weeks ago so I couldn&apost wait to get out here and play a tournament,&apos&apos said Kaymer. “I am really pleased with the round because I made several putts and it wasn&apost that easy to play today because it was windy,” added Kaymer, who shot an incredible 13-under-par 59 at the Habsberg Classic on the EDF Tour in June last year. “When I saw Henrik Stenson&aposs round of five under I was surprised and wondered how he did that, but now I know.” “I feel really relaxed now. My goal was always just to make the cut. I felt nervous today because if I play well over the next three events I will get the chance to play in the match play in Arizona and that is a big goal and that&aposs why I was a little nervous and the pressure was there, but now I am raring to go in the morning.” Stenson, the 2006 Qatar Masters champion, had earlier set the pace in blustery conditions at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club with an opening round 67, which included just two dropped shots. “The key here is to stay out of the rough, this is the thickest rough we have seen here and the thickest I&aposve played all year,” he said. “I was also delighted with my putting. I had struggled a little bit in the last couple of months but I made four really long putts out there and that made the difference to my score.” Stenson&aposs Ryder Cup team-mate Karlsson was a further shot adrift alongside Scott, with Lee Westwood, Ignacio Garrido and another Swede, Peter Hedblom, a stroke further back. Scott may have got his round off to a poor start through a bogey on the first hole, but he followed that up with two consecutive birdies before picking up another stroke on eight to turn for home in 34. The Australian could only find par, though, until the 16th when a birdie at that hole and another on the 18th allowed him to climb the leaderboard into equal third. Dubai Desert Classic – First Round -6 Martin Kaymer 66, -5 Henrik Stenson 67 -4 Robert Karlsson 68, Adam Scott (Australia) 68 -3 Ignacio Garrido 69, Peter Hedblom 69, Lee Westwood 69 -2 Thomas Aiken 70, Jamie Donaldson 70, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 70, Mark Foster 70, Mikko Ilonen 70, Paul Lawrie 70, Thomas Levet 70, Ross McGowan 70, Damien McGrane 70, Alexander Noren 70, Ian Poulter 70, Charl Schwartzel 70, Steve Webster 70, -1 Fredrik Andersson Hed 71, Philip Archer 71