Retief rides out heavy winds in Doha to lead

A tough day for all proved to be to Retief Goosen’s advantage as he took an early one shot lead in the first round of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters in Doha.

Having won this tournament previously in 2007, Goosen was aware of the strong desert winds that can wreak havoc during the tournament, but while all others around him seemed to struggle he played his normal consistent game and finished with a birdie on the par-five ninth for a three-under par 69 and a one stroke advantage over fellow South African and 2003 champion Darren Fichardt.

Defending champion Robert Karlsson and Englishman Richard Finch were also on two-under par after both dropping shots late in their rounds to drop out of the lead.

2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen was the third South African in the morning field. He got off to a good start with two birdies in his opening 10 holes before three late bogeys at the fifth, seventh, and eighth holes thwarted his challenge, leaving him on one-over par along with world number one Lee Westwood.

Both will not be too unhappy with their result as the 40km/h winds were predicted to get stronger during the afternoon, making it difficult for the rest of the South Africans in the field – Thomas Aiken, Hennie Otto, James Kingston, Richard Sterne, and Keith Horne.

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