Rahm opens well in Dubai; Scrivener trails

Australia's Jason Scrivener is battling to stay in contention at the DP World Tour Championship

Jon Rahm made the best start of the five players still in the running for the Race to Dubai title, shooting a six-under 66 to be three strokes off the first-round lead at the European Tour's season-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai on Thursday.

But Australia's Jason Scrivener has plenty of work to do in order to bring himself back into the chasing pack after carding a one-under 71 to join a group of 10 players tied for 21st place on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera leads the tournament after a nine-under 63, holing four straight birdies to complete the back nine as he matched his lowest ever score to par on the European Tour.

He sits one clear of Northern Ireland's world No.2 Rory McIlroy, who made eagle on the 18th in his round of 64 after hitting a smart three wood approach from 260 metres.

Rahm was alone in third place after a bogey-free round during which he made four birdies in five holes early in his back nine.

Scrivener's fellow Australian Scott Hend lies in 49th place at the tournament after an opening four-over 76.

Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, another player in with a chance of ending the season as European No. 1, was a stroke behind on five under after starting his round by holing out from 153 yards for eagle on the first.

Of the other Race to Dubai contenders, Bernd Wiesberger shot 70 and was tied for 14th place, Matt Fitzpatrick shot 71 and Shane Lowry shot 73.

Wiesberger leads the standings and will lift the trophy if he wins in Dubai or finishes alone in second place.

Fleetwood, second in the standings, knows a win coupled with Wiesberger finishing lower than outright second will see him capture the title for the second time in three years.

The same scenario faces third-place Rahm, who won the World Tour Championship in 2017 and placed fourth last year.