Express & Star

Richard Mansell’s on the charge in Dubai

Staffordshire’s Richard Mansell was one shot off the lead after a superb first round in his opening tournament of the season at the Dubai Desert Classic.

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Burntwood-based Mansell was four under par after a round which included five birdies and a solitary bogey.

Based at Beau Desert Golf Club, near Cannock, he was part of a seven-strong group on four under par, with former world number one Adam Scott and Dubai Invitational winner Tommy Fleetwood another stroke back.

That leaves him in tied for fifth place, one shot behind joint leaders Hootang Li, Rasmus Hojgaard, Cameron Young and Andy Sullivan.

He was, however, three shots ahead of defending champion Rory McIlroy, who was left to rue a poor finish to his opening round.

Seeking a record fourth victory in the event at Emirates Golf Club, McIlroy made an excellent start with four birdies in the first nine holes and bounced back from a bogey on the first – his 10th hole – with a birdie on the second. However, the world number two then three-putted the sixth, duffed a chip on the seventh to drop another shot and also bogeyed the eighth to card a one-under-par 71.