Three birdies in the closing five holes enabled Matt Wallace to make the better start after getting his Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship campaign underway alongside Moor Park club-mate Callum Shinkwin yesterday.

The Pinner-based golfer shot a one-under-par opening round of 71, two shots better than his Bushey-based playing partner after the Rickmansworth club’s two professionals were paired together at the European Tour’s first big tournament of the year.

Wallace, who finished in a tie for 38th at last week’s BMW SA Open, went out in a plus-two score of 38 after bogeys at the par four first and fifth holes.

But after birdie threes at 14 and 16, the 27-year-old moved himself into a share of 55th place with a four at the par five 18th.

Shinkwin also made a four at the final hole to go with his only other birdie of the first day on the par five 10th.

But dropped shots at the par three fourth and fives at 14 and 16 left the 24-year-old in a tie for 89th, with defending champion Tommy Fleetwood and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara setting the pace on six-under.