Victor Perez raced to the top of the leaderboard on day one of the European Tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship as he goes in search of becoming the first Frenchman to win the Race to Dubai.
Perez, 28, carded a first-round 5-under 67 on the Jumeirah Golf estates' Earth Course to take a narrow one-stroke lead over Matthew Fitzpatrick, Robert MacIntyre and Erik Van Rooyen.
-3 Fleetwood— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) December 10, 2020
As things stand Victor Perez will win both the DP World Tour Championship and Race to Dubai. pic.twitter.com/E1DsCY5Iqy
As things stand, Perez, who started sixth in the Race to Dubai standings entering this week, would go on to become the European Tour's new number one - but there are still 54 holes left to play and much can change.
“As always on these tough courses, tough pins today, they really put up a good setup with some of the pins,” said Perez, who has twice finished runner-up in Rolex Series events this season.
“It was just about holing a few good putts, driving the ball well, doing everything fairly well but obviously making a few putts, which you need those type of days.
“In the position I'm in, I have nothing to lose. I have everything to gain. So for me it's really a going-for-it mentality that I have to keep for four rounds. Obviously you still have to play proper golf and hit the right shots and sometimes take your medicine, but again, I have really nothing to lose, and it's a matter of making a lot of birdies.”
Tommy Fleetwood, who won the Race to Dubai in 2017, is in contention to win his second Race to Dubai title after progressing to 3-under par for the tournament, alongside three-time Rolex Series winner Tyrrell Hatton, Germany's Martin Kaymer and Finland's Sami Valimaki.
Patrick Reed, who led the Race to Dubai heading into this week, carded a solid 2-under par 70 to keep himself in contention of becoming the first American to win the European Tour's season-long race.