Goosen grabs early lead in Qatar

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, Last Updated: 11:54 AM ET

DOHA, Qatar -- Retief Goosen shot a three-under 69 Thursday to grab the lead during the suspended first round of the Qatar Masters.

Goosen, the 2007 winner of this event, had five birdies and two bogeys on a windy day at Doha Golf Club that produced a lot of high scores.

Darkness forced play to be suspended with seven players still on the course. Among them is Niclas Fasth, who is tied with Goosen at three-under through 16 holes.

"I drove it nicely, but it was tough to get the ball close to the flags," Goosen said. "When you were putting, you were getting blown all over the place."

Defending champion Robert Karlsson is right in the mix after five birdies and three bogeys gave him a two-under 70. He's joined in a tie for third by Richard Finch and Darren Fichardt.

"I've played well here a few times, and the year before I won," Karlsson said. "I like this golf course; it's always in great condition."

This tournament marks the first time since 1993 that the top two players in the world were both European and playing in a regular European Tour event.

World No. 1 Lee Westwood and No. 2 Martin Kaymer are both taking part this week; Westwood shot a one-over 73 on Thursday and is tied for 18th, while Kaymer is at five-over 77.

Kaymer can take over the top spot in the world in two scenarios: if he wins this event and Westwood finishes third or below, or if he takes second and Westwood is 23rd or worse.

Goosen, who turned 42 on Thursday, is trying to win his first European Tour event since his 2007 win in Qatar and began his day with two birdies in the first five holes.

Starting on the back nine, Goosen posted birdies on Nos. 12 and 14 before tripping to his first bogey at the par-four 15th. He immediately responded with another birdie at the 16th to move back to two-under around the turn.

Goosen birdied the first, but a bogey at the fourth put him at minus-two again. After four straight pars, he closed out his round with a birdie at the par-five ninth to put him atop the leaderboard.

Fasth, meanwhile, also started on the back nine and birdied the 11th and 14th to get out to a good start. The solid beginning was quickly erased with consecutive bogeys at Nos. 15 and 16, and he made the turn at even-par.

After three pars to begin his final nine holes, Fasth birdied the fourth and fifth. Just as darkness overcame the course, a birdie at the seventh put him into a tie with Goosen.

Markus Brier, Seve Benson, Thomas Aiken and Oliver Fisher are tied for sixth at one-under 71. At the time play was suspended, only nine of the 132 players had scores under par.

NOTES: Richard Sterne withdrew from the event after he was seven-over through seven holes...Only seven birdies were recorded on the four par-three holes Thursday...Fasth's last first-round lead and tournament win both came in 2007. His best finish in this event is a fourth-place tie in 2006...No player shot a bogey-free round.


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