Westwood seizes upper hand in Dubai

STARLET Rory McIlroy admitted struggling to cope with the pressure after England&rsquo;s Lee Westwood snatched the initiative on the first day of the Dubai World Championship.<br /><br />McIlroy, 20, came into the season-ending tournament &ndash; which will decide who scoops the European Tour Order of Merit and a &euro;1.8m cheque &ndash; leading the money list. <br /><br />But Westwood, who was second, yesterday, put himself back in front with a superb six-under-par opening round of 66 in Dubai that left him second on the leaderboard, behind Australian pacesetter Robert Allenby.<br /><br />McIlroy, meanwhile, could only manage to start his weekend with a 68 for a share of fifth place, meaning that if positions stay as they are Westwood will overtake him and land his second Order of Merit title.<br /><br />The Northern Irishman made a slow start playing alongside Westwood, a grouping he admitted affected his concentration in the biggest tournament of his short career. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t think I would find it as difficult as I did to be honest, but that&rsquo;s the way I found it and I thought I dealt pretty well with it,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Lee&rsquo;s been around a lot longer than me. You want to try and concentrate on the tournament, but at the same time you&rsquo;re seeing what he&rsquo;s doing.&rdquo;<br /><br />Westwood, 36, insisted playing with McIlroy had not bothered him at all. &ldquo;To be bothered about anything on the first tee other than trying to hit it down the middle and give yourself a birdie chance is irrelevant as far as I&rsquo;m concerned,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />The two other players who came into the weekend with a chance of topping the money list, England&rsquo;s Ross Fisher and Germany&rsquo;s Martin Kaymer, had days to forget. <br /><br />Needing top two and top four finishes respectively, they ended day one with rounds of one-over and one-under-par.