Graeme McDowell three shots behind leader Sergio Garcia after opening 68

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McDowell happy with start in Dubai Desert Classic

Graeme McDowell lies three shots behind leader Sergio Garcia after carding an opening round four-under-par 68 at the Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday.

The Portrush golfer posted five birdies and a bogey at the Emirates Golf Club.

Garcia leads on seven under, with Felipe Aguilar of Chile and South African George Coetzee one shot adrift.

Darren Clarke is three over after a round which included three birdies, two bogeys and two double bogeys, while Paul Dunne is two under after a 70.

Swede Henrik Stenson is one of four players tied with McDowell on four under in the clubhouse.

2010 US Open champion McDowell finished joint 28th at the Qatar Masters in Doha last week.