Rafael Cabrera-Bello made nine birdies in his first 11 holes to finish at 9-under 63 on Thursday for a two-shot lead after the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic.
Marcel Siem and Scott Jamieson each shot 65.
U.S. Open Champion Rory McIlroy was three shots back, making seven birdies on the last 10 holes. He's tied for fourth with six other players, including 2010 PGA Champion Martin Kaymer.
Cabrera-Bello said he briefly thought about scoring 59, one shot better than his career-best 60 that helped him win the Austrian Open. But he ended the round with seven straight pars.
Third-ranked Lee Westwood had a 69, and defending champion Alvaro Quiros shot a 70. Robert Rock, who beat Tiger Woods and McIlroy at Abu Dhabi on Jan. 29, trails by 10 shots.