McDowell shares first round lead in Saudi Arabia

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Graeme McDowell made the last of his four Ryder Cup appearances for Europe at Gleneagles in 2014 Saudi international first round leaderboard: (Royal Greens G&CC, Saudi Arabia) -6 G Green (Mas), G McDowell (NI); -5 A Arnaus (Spa), S Soderberg (Swe), H Stenson (Swe), V Perez (Fra), J Vegas (Ven); -4 A Sullivan, A Rai, T Lewis, R Fisher (All Eng), P Mickelson (USA), R Fox (NZ) Selected others: -3 D Johnson (USA); -1 S Lowry (Ire), S Garcia (Spa), C Syme (Sco); Par B Koepka (USA), L Westwood (Eng); +3 P Reed (US) Full leaderboard

Graeme McDowell hit eight birdies in a six-under 64 to share the lead after the opening round of Saudi International in Saudi Arabia.

McDowell made his last three holes to end the day level with Gavin Green from Malaysia.

Northern Irishman, 40, now 104th in the world, last won a European Tour event in 2014.

Brooks Koepka, the world number one, is six runs behind a level-par round of 70.

The 29-year-old American can lose first place to Jon Rahm this weekend if the Spaniard wins the Waste Management Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour and Koepka finish worse than the fourth or on a three-way draw for third place in the Middle East.

Five players ended up one blow behind the leaders, including the Swedish couple Henrik Stenson and Sebastian Soderberg, who set a European Tour record for the fastest 18 holes in the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday.

Five-time big winner Phil Mickelson was a shot farther back after a round of 66, including seven birdies in a back nine of 29.

He is a clear of fellow American Dustin Johnson, with both men who make a rare appearance outside the PGA Tour.

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