Walton and McGovern post 72s at nine-hole Sharjah venue
 SHARJAH, UAE:  Chris Williams of South Africa in action during the first round of the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club on March 16, 2017. Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images)

SHARJAH, UAE:  Chris Williams of South Africa in action during the first round of the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club on March 16, 2017. Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images)

Philip Walton and Brendan McGovern shot level par 72s to trail South Africa's Chris Williams by seven shots after the opening round of the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq in the United Arab Emirates.

Williams, 57,  made two eagles and five birdies in a seven-under-par, course record 65 to take a one-shot lead over Sweden’s Magnus P. Atlevi, America’s Clark Dennis and Denmark’s Steen Tinning at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club.
 
The European Senior Tour has returned to the United Arab Emirates for the first time since 2000 and Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club is hosting the first European Tour-sanctioned event to be played on a nine-hole golf course.

Players are using alternate tee boxes on the par-three and par-five holes, changing the yardages and approaches on each circuit of the nine-hole course.

Walton and McGovern are tied for 31st as Des Smyth shot 74 and Ronan Rafferty a three-over 75.

Scores after round one

65 C Williams (RSA), 

66 M Atlevi (Swe), C Dennis (USA), S Tinning (Den), 

67 G Wolstenholme (Eng), M Martin (Esp), G Marks (Eng), G Rusnak (USA), A Bossert (Sui), 

68 J Kingston (RSA), S Dodd (Wal), B Conser (USA), 

69 J Quiros (Esp), J Spence (Eng), B Lane (Eng), P Linhart (Esp), 

70 M Harwood (Aus), P Wilson (Eng), R Chapman (Eng), T Thelen (USA), R Drummond (Sco), P Broadhurst (Eng), S Luna (Esp), A Mednick (Swe), L Zhang (Chn), P Wesselingh (Eng), 

71 M Davis (Eng), P Fowler (Aus), D Russell (Eng), M Farry (Fra), 

72 P Walton (Irl), A Sherborne (Eng), B McGovern (Irl), G Brand Jnr (Sco), M Mouland (Wal), S Brown (Eng), 

73 J Carriles (Esp), M Mackenzie (Eng), G Manson (Aut), P Eales (Eng), C Monasterio (Arg), P Golding (Eng), 

74 J Hall (Eng), G Emerson (Eng), D Smyth (Irl), 

75 J Sallat (Fra), G Brand (Eng), R Rafferty (Nir), R Larsen (Den), P Mitchell (Eng), C Rocca (Ita), 

76 S Richardson (Eng), N Job (Eng), J Mills (am) (Eng), 

77 J Rivero (Esp), 

80 A Forsbrand (Swe), R Sulaiman (am) (Sin).