Qatar Masters: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano leads John Daly

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano overcame a desert storm to snatch the lead from John Daly on the opening day of the Qatar Masters in Doha.

The Spaniard, who is on course for a Ryder Cup debut, birdied four of the last five holes in shooting a brilliant 66.

American Daly, who is 543rd in the world, earlier returned to form with a five-under-par 67.

He said: "It's one of the best rounds I've ever played in a wind like that."

Three months after walking out of the Australian Open, saying he had run out of balls - several of them had just been hit into a lake - 45-year-old Daly surprised even himself with five birdies and no dropped shots.

He added: "You feel like you are eating a lot of sand - it was brutal. I'm pretty shocked myself. I had five and a half weeks off and really didn't touch a club much."

Daly won the 1995 Open at St Andrews in simlarly windy conditions, but his last victory was eight years ago and he no longer has a PGA Tour card in his home country.

Fernandez-Castano, wearing sunglasses to keep the sand out of his eyes, had a remarkable nine birdies during his round, but also bogeyed the fourth, long 10th and 13th.

Reigning champion Thomas Bjorn is 13 shots off the lead after shooting a seven-over-par 79.

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