Dubai:Thomas Bjorn had beaten world number one Tiger Woods on the final hole last year to take the Dubai Desert Classic championship title. And this year again the Swede started the defense of his title with five birdies to finish the day as joint leader at 5 under. Karlsson made an eagle when he holed his approach at the 18th and five birdies along with two bogeys in his round. One shot behind were two more Swedes, Niclas Fasth and Olle Karlsson along with pre-tournament favourite Ernie Els of South Africa, Scotland's Sam Torrance and Charlie Wi of South Korea. Germany's Sven Struver was in a group of six players on 3-under while Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, winner in Dubai in 1996, was on one-under, four shots off the pace. Mark O'Meara of the USA had a disappointing opening round, making three bogeys and a double bogey in a 3-over total of 75.