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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Stephen Gallacher can maintain his gallop in round two

Tommy Fleetwood impressing again

Rory McIlroy made a solid start in Abu Dhabi
1 of 1

Sky Sports Golf, 7am Friday

Defending champion Tommy Fleetwood fired a six-under-par 66 to claim a share of the first-round lead in the Abu Dhabi Championship, shortening from 22-1 to 6-1 in the process.

Fleetwood ended day one tied at the top of the leaderboard with Japanese raider Hideto Tanihara, a pre-tournament 175-1 chance. Tanihara was still available at 40-1 to triumph in this star-studded field as he walked to the clubhouse.

World number one Dustin Johnson, runner-up in the event last year, made a poor start. A level-par 72 left the American with much work to do, but Rory McIlroy is well in touch after a 69. Fleetwood found 18 greens in regulation, but McIlroy could be delighted with a bogey-free round on his return to competition.

Second-round threeball punters should consider Stephen Gallacher, a two-time Dubai Desert Classic champion who is comfortable in the Middle East. Gallacher beat David Drysdale and Soren Kjeldsen by four shots in round one, employing his power advantage on a long track, and he can repeat the dose on Friday (9.05am).

The marquee match of Fleetwood, Johnson and McIlroy is scheduled to tee off at 8.05am UK and Ireland time.

S Gallacher
1pt 13-8 general

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Fleetwood found 18 greens in regulation
E.W. Terms
Sky bet