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Els takes one shot lead in Dubai
by Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Ernie Els shot a 6-under 66 Thursday for a one-shot lead after the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and David Howell of England each had a 67, with Jarrod Lyle of Australia and Sam Osborne of England at 68. "A 66 at the end of the day was a good day's work," Els said. "I was happy with the way I played the par-5s because if you don't make fours there, you are losing ground against the field."

Els, seeking his first victory of the season, birdied three of the four par-5s.

Nine players, including former champion Thomas Bjorn, were three strokes behind. Colin Montgomerie and Ben Curtis, the 2003 British Open champion, shot 70s and defending champion Mark O'Meara a 73.

Els said he spoke with his sports psychologist during his three-week golf break.

"We get bogged down trying to play the perfect game," the South African said. "But I got back to basics."

Els, with just one finish outside the top 10 in his last 17 starts, is relaxed and ready to attack the course.

"If I see a shot, I am going to hit it," he said. "I saw a lot of drivers today and I stuck to my game plan and went for it."

The 41-year-old Jimenez won five times on the European tour last year.

"I am like a good wine, you know, getting better with age," he said.

The tournament featured two holes-in-one in the morning - Kenyan-born Englishman Yasin Ali on the 186-yard seventh and Japan's Nobuhito Sato on the 180-yard 15th.


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