Charl Schwartzel is the man among men in Abu Dhabi

Jay Busbee

You could throw darts at the leaderboard of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and you'd hit a big name on every toss. But at the moment, nobody's riding higher than Charl Schwartzel. (Leave off the "-es" for "extra strokes.")

Schwartzel, who's apparently teeing off a beach or something there in the photo at right, leads the star-studded field after one round with an 8-under. He's one ahead of Padraig Harrington, who's testing out a new swing that clearly hasn't exploded in his face just yet. Graeme McDowell is at 6-under, Lee Westwood is at 3-under, and Phil Mickelson is at 1-under, for those of you keeping track at home.

Schwartzel carded nine birdies against just one bogey, with eight of those lil' fellers coming in the first 12 holes. The South African, a protege of Ernie Els, has a long way to go in the desert, but so far, he's got one of the toughest fields in golf in his rear-view mirror.