Peter Morrison, Associated Press
Tiger Woods hits an iron on the 8th hole during the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Tiger Woods shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke clubhouse lead in the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

"I had two good days of practice the last couple days and started to hit the ball a lot better than I did last week," Woods said after the bogey-free round at the Emirates Golf Club.

Woods, going for a fifth straight tournament victory, won the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines last week.

Woods, the 2006 Dubai winner, was plagued by poor putting last year when he finished third. He missed a few chances Thursday but wasn't complaining.

"I had a couple of good opportunities to make some putts and just kind of ran them over the edge, but overall today was just — couldn't ask for a better start," he said.

Woods' dominant win Sunday at the Buick Invitational was his 62nd career title, tying Arnold Palmer for fourth place on the PGA Tour list. If he triumphs in Dubai, it will be his seventh win in eight starts.

Three players were two strokes behind in the clubhouse at 5-under — Pelle Edberg of Sweden, Thomas Levet of France and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, who had a hole-in-one on the seventh hole.