DOHA, Qatar – Justin Walters of South Africa and Spanish rookie Adri Arnaus mastered the tricky winds at the Doha Golf Club on Thursday to sit tied for the first-round lead at the Qatar Masters.
Walters and Arnaus both carded a 5-under 67 to sit one shot clear of a group of seven players on a tightly packed leaderboard. Another 18 players shot a 69.
''Warming up today in the wind I was thinking anything under par would be a great score, so to go 5 under I'm ecstatic,'' Walters said. ''I wouldn't want to play in three more days of this. ... I came here today and thought 'another day in the wind,' so it's nice to get away with a really good round and, as conditions improve, I hope to keep going the way I am.''
Arnaus eagled the 18th hole for the best opening round of his first European Tour season, while Walters had five birdies in a bogey-free round.
''It was a lot of fun,'' Arnaus said. ''The wind picked up early but we kept the ball in play most of the time and gave myself good looks. I was able to take advantage of those, so I'm pretty pleased.''
Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium [pictured above], South African duo George Coetzee and Justin Harding, and Richie Ramsay of Scotland were among the players who were one stroke behind the leaders.
Ramsay looked set to take at least a share of the lead but had late back-to-back bogeys in an inconsistent round that started with an eagle and also included five birdies.
The final three players had their round suspended by darkness while on the last hole, including Lucas Herbert of Australia, who was on 3 under.