DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Richard Sterne nearly broke the course record at the Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday, shooting 10-under 62 in the first round to finish one shot ahead of Stephen Gallacher.
The 165th-ranked South African, who has struggled in recent years with back problems, started with three birdies on his first four holes. Sterne was on pace to break the course record of 61 set by Ernie Els in 1994, but couldn't convert late birdie chances.
Gallacher also had a strong start with three birdies and an eagle on the front nine en route to his 63. He had two straight bogeys on the back before an eagle and three birdies on the final four holes to pull into contention.
Lee Westwood was five shots back.