DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Rory McIlroy, ranked No. 7 in the world, upstaged Nos. 1, 2 and 3 with a 7-under 65 Thursday that gave him the first-round lead at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Sergio Garcia and Thomas Aiken were second with 67s.
McIlroy had eight birdies and one bogey in windy conditions at the European PGA Tour event.
"I … got away with a couple of drives that I was quite fortunate to make birdies from," he said. "I had a putt for a 64 on the last hole that didn't quite go in. But I'll take 65 in these conditions any day."
No. 1 Lee Westwood, No. 2 Martin Kaymer and No. 3 Tiger Woods played together.
Westwood (69) had four birdies but three-putted No. 17 for par and bogeyed No. 18.
"I played solidly. I didn't make too many mistakes," Westwood said. "It was disappointing to shoot 1 over for the last two holes. One under would have been nice."
An approach shot on No. 9 by Kaymer (69) hit the grandstand and landed in the water, leading to double bogey. He finished with six birdies, including barely missing an eagle putt at No. 17.
"It was okay," Kaymer said. "I hit a lot of good shots and was a little bit unfortunate on the ninth."
Woods (71) double bogeyed No. 12 and twice was at 2 over. But he eagled No. 18 after hitting a 3-wood about 250 yards to the green.
"My trajectory wasn't what I wanted on a lot of shots," Woods said. "Consequently, I could never get a ball pin high, especially when the wind is blowing this hard."
Murray helps leader
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — D.A. Points said he shot 7-under 63, tied for the first-round lead at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, because of playing partner Bill Murray, not despite him.
Points had eight birdies on the Shore Course to share the lead with Steve Marino. (He and Murray also led the pro-am portion of the tournament at 59.)
"I know people talk about his antics or he's a showman while he's out there," Points said. "It really loosens me up and makes me, between shots, not be grinding so hard on what I'm doing. It helps me take a little bit of a breather between shots and joke around with him."
Marino shot 7-under 65 at Spyglass Hill. He had seven birdies but none on the par 5s.
The shot of the day came from Alex Cejka (64 on the Shore Course). On the second shot of his first hole, the par-5 No. 10, he holed out a 3-wood from the fairway for an albatross.