DP World Tour Championship 2013: Best and Worst Performers of Round 1

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DP World Tour Championship 2013: Best and Worst Performers of Round 1
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The 2013 European Tour has entered its final straight as the climatic finish to The Race to Dubai gathers pace at the DP World Tour Championship at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.

At the end of Round 1, Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares is six under and out in front with a one-shot lead over Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Australia's Marcus Fraser, who are in joint second place.

Cañizares is currently ranked 184th and went into the DP sponsored tournament ranked as an outsider, leading the field in terms of both the early standings and arguably the most impressive performance compared to his form and expectations.

Yet it's unlikely that the 43-year-old will be able to go all the way and win the $8 million competition unless he can suddenly produce one of the most unexpectedly brilliant tournament runs of all time, especially considering the other golfers chasing him for first.

Below are five notable players from the first day of action: three of the best and two of the worst.

 

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Best: Henrik Stenson

The current leader of The Race To Dubai is looking to round off an incredible year by winning the European Tour in Dubai.

Having already captured the PGA Tour and FedEx Cup in 2013, the Swede should be carrying the weight of history with him as plays the Jumeirah course knowing that a unique achievement with a clean sweep of titles is his to miss out on.

Thankfully, judging by his calm and collected demeanour on Round 1 of the DP World Tour Championship, Stenson is taking it all in stride and just worrying about playing his own game, detached from any external pressures that could distract him.

His composed approach allowed him to complete a round of 68 on Day 1, leaving him in joint fourth place and ideally placed to assault the top three, with just two shots separating him from Cañizares.

 

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Best: Graeme McDowell

G-Mac is also a player with plenty riding on his performance at the WP World Tour.

A win would fire him to the top of the European money list, and although he finished Round 1 away from the front-runners on par, he did so after recovering from a poor start that hampered his impressive efforts on the back nine.

His recovery, which featured three consecutive birdies, may have still left him with much to do in the following rounds, but his ability to stop the rot before it was too late shows that McDowell is still a threat.

Expect the Northern Irishman to snap himself into focus on his next attack of the course in order to make sure he can benefit from his good performance on the way back to the clubhouse.

 

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Best: Thongchai Jaidee

While Jaidee's fellow countryman may be in the top three, the Thai pro is the greater prospect for glory at the Jumeirah Golf Estates following on from an exciting season of progress.

Ending Day 1 in joint seventh place and three under, like Stenson, Jaidee is well placed for an assault on the upper positions and to break away from the chasing pack.

Jaidee may only be ranked 49th in the world rankings, but he is seventh in The Race To Dubai and could lift himself even higher up the standings with a strong European Tour finish in the Middle East.

  

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Worst: Paul Casey

Tipped by some as one to watch in Dubai, Casey sits well off the pace going into Day 2 with a disappointing initial round of a three-over 75.

With his strong driving game, the Englishman was thought to be a dangerous outsider with the ability to gazump the favourites and make betting spectators very happy indeed.

Although he has won the Abu Dhabi Gold Championship on two occasions, and finished in the top 20 in his previous two DP Tour Championship appearances, it seems that Casey's latest visit to the region will be a more miserable affair.

  

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Worst: Felipe Aguilar

Finishing bottom of the pile after Round 1 is Aguilar, who made it around the course for 79, finishing seven over.

The Chilean has been unable to make much of an impact in the latter half of the season since the Italian Open but did look rather serviceable at the recent Turkish Open.

However, his first time at the DP World Tour Championship is unlikely to be a memorable debut for Aguilar, who secured top-10 finishes at the Qatar Masters and Dubai Desert Classic.

Unfortunately, like Casey, it looks as though this foray into the United Arab Emirates is going be something of a disaster for the 39-year-old. 

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