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Three-way tie for European Tour lead at Abu Dhabi

Jan. 16, 2014 at 9:19 AM

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Romain Wattel had a bogey-free 5-under-par 67 Thursday in earning a share of the lead at the European Tour's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Wattel had a pair of birdies on front-side pars 3s in moving to the top of the leaderboard in the first round.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello overcame a first-hole bogey and Matthew Baldwin owned the lead outright until a final-hole bogey to wind up first-round play tied with Wattel.

Seven players came in at 4-under and eight shot 69 Friday, leaving 18 players within two strokes of the lead. Another 16 players, including Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald, are at 2-under.

In addition to the par-3 birdies at Nos. 4 and 7, Wattel had another at the eighth hole and made the turn at 3-under. He birdied 14 and the par-5 18th for his 5-under 67.

All three of the leaders had birdies at the 18th, a 576-yard hole that saw 68 birdies Thursday and played at 4.51 among the 125 players.

Cabrera-Bello had a 5 on the par-4 first hole but got below par with birdies at Nos. 5 and 6. He played the second nine at 4-under with birdies at 10, back-to-back at 14 and 15 and then at 18.

Baldwin played the second nine first Thursday, opening with a birdie. He also birdied No. 13 but fell back with a bogey at 16. He was 2-under after playing No. 18 and jumped to the lead with birdies at Nos. 1 and 2 and again at 5 and 6. However, a bogey at the par-4 ninth dropped him back into a tie for the lead.

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