Coetzee in front at European Tour's Qatar Masters

Jan. 22, 2014 at 10:53 AM
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DOHA, Qatar, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- George Coetzee closed with three consecutive birdies Wednesday in taking the first-round lead at the European Tour's Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

The late birdie string gave Coetzee an 8-under-par 64. He's one stroke ahead of Dawie Van Der Walt and Steve Webster.

Four players -- Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Francois Calmels, Nacho Elvira and Ross Fisher -- are tied for fourth at 6-under-66. Six more players are tied at 5-under.

The start of the tournament was delayed by fog and one group still had two holes to play to complete the first round when play was suspended Wednesday. One of those players is Romain Wattel, who was 4-under through 16 holes.

Coetzee opened his round with four pars but made the turn at 3-under with birdies at 5, 7 and 9. He jumped to 5-under when he made a 10-foot par for eagle 3 at the 10th. He had a birdie at 12 but suffered his lone bogey at the 14th hole. Birdies over 16-18 left him alone in first.

Van Der Walt was 5-under in a five-hole span. He was 2-under through his first nine holes -- he started on No. 10 -- and had an eagle on the par-5, 591-yard first hole and then birdies at Nos. 2, 3 and 5.

Webster was 3-under after a double eagle at his first hole of the day, holing out from 254 yards with a 5-wood on the par-5, 548-yard 10th hole. He was 8-under after 13 holes before a bogey at 6 dropped him back.

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