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DeChambeau grabs lead, Els stays in contention

DeChambeau grabs lead, Els stays in contention

Starting at No. 10, he opened eagle-birdie-birdie and was 7 under after 11 holes.

"I've always dreamed of winning any Tour event, and to have this many under my belt, I don't even know what I have right now", DeChambeau said after his fourth win in his last nine starts.

"I'm pleased. I'm pleased that I'm playing golf".

"But again, going back to it being my first worldwide win, I really couldn't be more pleased to have this tournament be my first global win, European Tour win".

China's Li Haotong, who held the previous tournament record when he finished on 23-under en route to last year's title, was further behind in 12th place alongside four-time major victor Ernie Els, An Byeong-hun and Shane Lowry. There's no complaining here for sure, so I'm happy. It was obviously a lot of fun to be able to finally hoist an worldwide trophy, I'm so happy about that.

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"(But) I want to have my best game, I want to be comfortable hitting shots, so that's what I am working towards.

"I knew I just had to take advantage of them straight out of the gate. I was trying to go as deep as possible today". It's fantastic. I couldn't be displeased with that but my expectation levels are for how I know I can perform, and I feel like I'm under-performing a little bit. I was like seven under through about 11 holes, and it just felt like I was cruising.

Haotong Li, the defending champion, will be alongside him in the final group and, as Rory McIlroy will testify, the 23-year-old Chinese star is not averse to a head-to-head battle with a player far higher in the rankings.

The European Tour now heads for Saudi Arabia and the much talked about inaugural staging of the Saudi International in the King Abdullah Economic City where Justin Rose, Brooke Koepka, Dustin Johnson and DeChambeau are amongst the game's top five who will tee it up.