(Reuters) - Former world number one Rory McIlroy enjoyed a near-perfect day as he carded a seven-under-par 65 for a two-shot lead after the first round of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on Thursday.
There was a three-way tie for second place, with South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Dane Joachim Hansen and Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen all at five-under.
McIlroy made a dream start with a birdie on the first hole before a fine approach on the par-five second set up an eagle from 12 feet.
The Northern Irishman had three more gains before the turn in friendly scoring conditions at the Jumeirah Golf Estates.
A bogey on the ninth briefly halted McIlroy's charge but he recovered to make a series of pars and sank a birdie putt on the 18th for the clubhouse lead.
The four-times major winner, who recently reunited with longtime swing coach Michael Bannon, said: "I've been coming back here for 12 years and it flies by. I think I've got a lot of experience around this place, a lot of great memories."
British Open champion Collin Morikawa, who is aiming to become the first American to win the Race to Dubai title, was three shots back with a four-under 68.
Morikawa holed a 15-footer from just off the green on the second and made three more birdies on the front nine, but was undone by bogeys on the ninth and 17th holes.
"It was pretty solid throughout. The two bogeys were a little unenforced but I made a few birdies and kept the momentum going... it was a good way to start the first round," said the 24-year-old.
World number one Jon Rahm is missing from the stellar field in Dubai after withdrawing to spend more time with his family.
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shrivathsa Sridhar)