Dubai: Jeev Milkha Singh carded an impressive five-under-67 to finish Day One at tied 11th in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic under progress in Dubai on Thursday. Indian ace golfer is four shot behind the leader Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who returned with the opening round score of nine-under-63.
Cabrera-Bello had the chance to achieve The European Tour's first 59 when he stood on his 12th tee nine under par.
It left him needing four more birdies to achieve the magic figure, but the 27 year old Spaniard parred in for a 63 and a two stroke lead over German Marcel Siem and Scotland's Scott Jamieson.
US Open Champion McIlroy was deep in the pack at one over after eight, but a birdie on the difficult ninth sparked him into life and by the time he almost holed-in-one on the 15th - Scot Stephen Gallacher did make an ace there - he was up to five under.
Meanwhile, Lee Westwood had a 69, last week's winner Paul Lawrie a 71 after closing with a double bogey on the ninth and Abu Dhabi champion Robert Rock a 73.
Siem had the chance to grab his lowest-ever round on The European Tour when he stood on the fairway at the par five 18th eight under, but his second flew right of target into the lake - he thought there must have been mud under the ball - and he ran up a bogey six.
Highlight of Jamieson's round was an eagle three on the 550 yard 13th and the 28 year old Scot backed it up with five birdies, three of them on the par threes.