Doha: Rafa Cabrera-Bello carded a fluent 66 to sound an early warning to his rivals at the Qatar Masters on Wednesday.
The Spaniard, 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 played in mild wind at the par-72 Doha Golf Club.
England`s Mark Foster, fellow Spaniard Alejandro Canizares, South African Branden Grace and German Moritz Lampert were one shot behind on five-under among golfers who finished their first round.
Cabrera-Bello won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2012, but is yet to post a victory after that, although he was runner-up at last year`s BMW International Open.
Cabrera-Bello, who hails from the Canary Islands, which are on a similar latitude to Qatar, enjoys playing in the desert weather, saying he feels closer to home.
"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 before the tournament
"It has been three years since my last victory, so I`m definitely ready to win again. I`m always happy to see a Spanish winner of any event, but it would be nice if it was me this time!"
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.
Foster and Canizares, too, shot bogey-free rounds, but Grace and Lampert dropped a shot each.
A bunch of five players, including England`s Justin Rose, were a further shot behind after posting 68s.