Woods in contention at tragedy-hit Dubai Masters

27-year-old Cheyenne Woods has enjoyed a superb playing year though she has not won a tournament (AFP Photo/Leon Halip) (Getty/AFP/File)

Dubai (AFP) - Cheyenne Woods, the niece of superstar golfer Tiger, was one shot off the lead held by England's Florentyna Parker after the first round of the tragedy-hit Dubai Ladies Masters on Thursday.

Play had been suspended early Wednesday in the season-ending championship of the Ladies European Tour following the death of caddie Max Zechmann on the course.

And with the tournament reduced to 54 holes, the field completed the round Thursday.

Parker, who started the day at seven under par after nine holes, moved to eight-under after 16, but having started on the back nine, the closing stretch of the difficult par-4 eighth and ninth holes took its toll.

The 27-year-old, who is fourth in the money list and enjoying a superb year without winning a tournament, made a bogey on the eighth and then closed with a double bogey on the ninth.

Also a victim of the eighth hole was Woods who looked good as she was six under par on the eighth tee having also started from the 10th.

But she pushed her tee shot into the desert and ended up making a double bogey.

Woods and Frenchwoman Sophie Giquel-Bettan were tied for second place at four under par.

Defending champion Feng Shanshan struggled for her even-par 72, while India's Aditi Ashok, who won the last two individual events on the LET, carded a solid two-under-par 70.

"I have struggled here the last few years," said Parker. "The last three years I've missed the cut, and it's been very disappointing.

"I was thinking back to 2010, I think I started with five or six-under on the back nine, which was my front nine. And I said, I need to get that feeling back and somehow do the same, and I can do it.

"Well, I went one or two better, so that was really good, and then I struggled a bit this morning. It's quite hard to find your way again, but it was good that I made back-to-back birdies, and obviously I struggled on the last two holes."

Woods, who had moved to seven-under with a hat-trick of birdies on the 18th, first and second, made a bogey on the fourth before the double bogey on the eighth.

"That double was not very good. It was ugly. But despite that, I thought I played a really solid round," said the American.

"I hit the ball well and gave myself a lot of chances for birdies and my putter felt great, so I'm really happy with today."

Feng rued a cold putter and said: "My ball-striking was actually very good. I had so many birdie chances. But my putting wasn't really working. I was missing all the short birdie putts and also the par putts."

The players wore black ribbons and observed a minute's silence as a tribute to 56-year-old Zechmann, a former caddie on the European Tour.

He was caddying for France's Anne-Lise Caudal who hit 72 on Thursday.