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Stephen Gallacher can maintain his gallop in round two

Tommy Fleetwood impressing again

Rory McIlroy made a solid start in Abu Dhabi
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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.

Recommendation
S Gallacher
1pt 13-8 general


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Fleetwood found 18 greens in regulation
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