Wilson masters conditions to share lead with Dredge

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The Independent Online

Europe's perennial nearly man Oliver Wilson battled testing conditions yesterday to card a five-under-par 67 and share a one-shot first-round lead at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters with the Welshman Bradley Dredge.

Wilson, yet to win a maiden title despite making a Ryder Cup debut in 2008, dropped only one shot on his first circuit of Doha Golf Club despite blustery wind and deep rough leaving the majority of the field over par.

After the European No 1 Lee Westwood missed an eagle putt at the last which would have secured the outright lead, Dredge completed a run of four birdies over his final five holes with a 20-foot putt to join Wilson at the top of the leader board.

"I'm really pleased, but it was a strange one because it didn't feel that hard," said Wilson, who missed the cut in Abu Dhabi last week. "I got in and realised it had been playing tough, but I was disappointed I didn't pick up more shots coming in. I had some good chances, but all in all, I'm happy."

Wilson has finished second nine times, with two play-off defeats, but is confident he has now turned the corner. The 29-year-old did, though, have a chance to take an overnight lead at the last, but missed a five-foot birdie putt.

Australia's Brett Rumford went round in 69 to claim seventh place, with Sergio Garcia, Camilo Villegas, Ross Fisher and Charl Schwartzel, who has already won two tournaments this year, in a group at two under par.

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