Doha: England`s Oliver Fisher shot a brilliant seven-under par 65 to upstage his fancied rivals in the first round of the 2.5 million dollar Qatar Masters on Wednesday.
With the feared strong winds not materialising, the 26-year-old produced a strong finish to put himself in contention for only his second title on the European Tour since turning pro in 2006.
A hattrick of birdies over the final three holes gave him a one-shot advantage over Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello, who was sitting pretty on a six-under 66 after taking the clubhouse lead earlier.
Fisher, whose only title so far came at the Czech Open in 2011, had worked up some decent form at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship where he finished tied 12th and seems to have carried it through to Doha.
A bogey on his 13th hole somewhat blemished his effort, but he maintained his composure to close out the round in style.
Earlier, Cabrera-Bello, who missed the playoff last year by one stroke to tie for third for the second time in Doha, started off with two straight birdies and picked up four more shots in a bogey-free round.
Former winners Ernie Els of South Africa and Paul Lawrie of Scotland were in a bunch of nine players a further shot down after carding bogey-free 67s.
Cabrera-Bello had won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2012, but has gone winless since then, although he was runner-up at last year`s BMW International Open.
Hailing from the Canary Islands, which are on a similar latitude to Qatar, Cabrera-Bello enjoys playing in the desert weather, saying he feels closer to home.
"Just played good. Really the only serious bogey chance was on 11 that I holed a long putt for par. But besides that, it was always trying to subtract instead of saving par," said the Spaniard
"I always like playing there because the weather at this time of year is just like back home and maybe this is one of the reasons I generally play well in the Middle East," he said.
Cabrera-Bello is aiming to become only the third Spaniard to win the Qatar Masters after Alvaro Quiros in 2009 and Sergio Garcia last year.
A clutch of eight players, which includes England`s Justin Rose, were tied for fourth after posting 68s, while defending champion Sergio Garcia could only manage a 69 and was four shots behind leader Fisher.