Venue: Doha Golf Club Dates: 3-6 February Coverage: Latest scores and daily reports on BBC Sport website; reports on BBC Radio 5 live;
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First round leaderboard:
-3 R Goosen (SA) -2 D Fichardt (SA), R Karlsson (Swe), R Finch (Eng), N Fasth (after 15 holes) -1 M Brier (Aut), S Benson (Eng), T Aiken (SA), O Fisher (Eng)
Selected others: level I Poulter (Eng) +1 S Garcia (Sp), L Westwood (Eng), L Oosthuizen (SA), MA Jimenez (Sp) +2 P Casey (Eng) +3 JM Olazabal (Sp) +5 J Daly (US), M Kaymer (Ger)
Westwood began the opening round at the 10th and is pictured driving at the first
World number one Lee Westwood defied brutal gusting conditions in Doha to post a one-over first round of 73 for a share of 18th at the Qatar Masters.
Westwood is four behind leader Retief Goosen, who had five birdies and was one of only eight to finish under par.
But Martin Kaymer, who can overtake Westwood at the top of the rankings with victory this week, failed to make a birdie and carded a five-over 77.
Paul Casey was five over after 13 but birdied three of his last four holes.
The punishing cross winds caused problems throughout the day, and as a consequence of the slow play, fading light meant that seven players will have to complete their rounds on Friday.
Goosen was one of the earlier starters, beginning at the 10th, and celebrated his 42nd birthday with an impressive round of 69 which culminated in a fine birdie at the 639-yard par five.
Kaymer surveys the rocky scene at the 15th where he took a double bogey
"Of all the rounds I've played here in Doha, this was probably one of the toughest," said the world number 15, who won the US Open in 2001 and 2004.
"The Tour knew this wind was coming, so the golf course hasn't been set up that hard, but in saying that the rough is still up and you really get penalised quite heavy for missing the fairway.
"It's a good birthday present, a 69 for someone who was born in 1969."
Westwood, who was tied third behind Robert Karlsson last year, also began at the 10th and also birdied his final hole.
"I'm not looking forward to these conditions again as they're forecasted the same for Friday," the 37-year-old said.
"It was very tough out there and the hardest conditions I've experienced in all the years I've been coming here."
Kaymer can usurp Westwood as number one should he win and the Englishman finishes outside the top two or if he is second and Westwood is outside the top 22.
But the 26-year-old German, who dropped only one shot en route to an eight-stroke win at the Abu Dhabi Championship last month, made a disastrous start to his campaign at the 7,388-yard Doha lay-out.
He took a double bogey at the 470-yard par-four 15th when his second shot finished amongst large rocks and an attempted escape barely moved the ball but damaged his club.
"It was one of those days that you just try to forget and fight to make the cut," Kaymer said.
"I really struggled with those greens. Obviously I was hoping to play a good round but I just really struggled with the golf course."
Ian Poulter, another to begin at the 10th, is in contention at level par after a fine recovery, having been three over at the turn.
The colourful 35-year-old had four birdies on his inward nine, rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt at the mammoth ninth.
Several leading names struggled, with world number seven Steve Stricker starting from the 10th and racking up five bogeys by the turn.
John Daly also started from the 10th and came home in 42 for a round of 75, while Darren Clarke mixed three birdies, five bogeys and two double bogeys in a 78.