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Saudi International: Graeme McDowell shoots 64 for share of first-round lead

Graeme McDowell made the last of his four Ryder Cup appearances for Europe at Gleneagles in 2014
Saudi International first round leaderboard: (Royal Greens G&CC, Saudi Arabia)
-6 G Green (Mas), G McDowell (NI); -5 A Arnaus (Spa), S Soderberg (Swe), H Stenson (Swe), V Perez (Fra), J Vegas (Ven); -4 A Sullivan, A Rai, T Lewis, R Fisher (All Eng), P Mickelson (US), R Fox (NZ)
Selected others: -3 D Johnson (US); -1 S Lowry (Ire), S Garcia (Spa), C Syme (Sco); Par B Koepka (US), L Westwood (Eng); +3 P Reed (US)
Full leaderboard

Graeme McDowell hit eight birdies in a six-under 64 to share the lead after the opening round of the Saudi International in Saudi Arabia.

McDowell birdied his last three holes to end the day level with Gavin Green of Malaysia.

The Northern Irishman, 40, now ranked 104th in the world, last won a European Tour event in 2014.

Brooks Koepka, the world number one, is six strokes behind after a level-par round of 70.

The 29-year-old American could lose top spot this weekend to Jon Rahm if the Spaniard wins the Waste Management Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour and Koepka finishes worse than fourth or in a three-way tied for third in the Middle East.

Five players finished one stroke behind the leaders, including the Swedish pair of Henrik Stenson and Sebastian Soderberg, who set a European Tour record for the fastest 18 holes at the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday.

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson was a shot further back after a round of 66, which included seven birdies in a back nine of 29.

He is one clear of fellow American Dustin Johnson, with both men making a rare appearance outside of the PGA Tour.

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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