The 37-year-old hit a 65, making one eagle and six birdies on the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club.
On a rare day of bad weather in Dubai, Garcia led the field on Thursday with Felipe Aguilar and George Coetzee (both -6) tied for second place.
Garcia, who is targeting his first title at the Nakheel-based venue, said: “We obviously got a bit lucky with the weather this morning, it was quite benign and nice until we got to the last six holes.
“Overall, it would have been nice to have a bogey free round but I made a bunch of other ones.”
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