Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Teenage amateur Thomas shares Dubai Creek 

Open lead with Shepherd

DUBAI — Teenage prodigy Rayhan Thomas, winner of the Scottish boys' open stroke-play title earlier this season,  moved to within touching distance of becoming the first amateur to win a MENA Golf Tour event going into the final round of the Dubai Creek Open on Tuesday.
Starting the day one shot off the pace, Thomas, who is ranked 526th in the world, backed up his opening six-under 65 with a 67 to join overnight leader Jake Shepherd atop the leaderboard on 10 under 132.
On a day when hot and humid conditions took its toll on one's energy levels and stamina, Shepherd moved to 11-under after the 13th, but a bogey on the closing hole prevented him from maintaining his overnight lead.
England’s Luke Joy carded a 69 to occupy solo third on seven under, two ahead of a four-man group which included his compatriot Zane Scotland, the most prolific winner on the MENA Golf Tour with 11 titles to his credit.
Pakistan’s Shafiq Masih, Stuart Archibald of England and Sweden’s Fredrik From completed the group for a share of eighth.
“I played scrappy golf. Drove the ball well, but iron game wasn’t that good. Also, I had a lot of putts that refused to go in,” said Shepherd, who made two birdies, one eagle and a bogey in his second round. 
“Even though I couldn’t concentrate well on the last four or five holes, I will take a 68,” said Shepherd, who, like last year, will play alongside Thomas in the final group.
“He is a massive talent and a good friend. It will be fun playing with him again,” said the 25-year-old Englishman who beat Thomas in a play-off for the title 12 months ago.
Thomas said: “Overall, I am very pleased with my efforts. Struck the ball as well as I did in the first round, but did not hole that many putts. I may have missed at least four birdie chances from within 12 feet,” who overcame an early bogey with five birdies, including three on the back nine.
“But I sank a nice one on the 15th from 20 feet to get to 10 under,” said Thomas, who thanked his caddy John Howells from the Butch Harmon Academy at the Els Club for keeping him cool and calm.
“I am not thinking too much about the final round. Will try and focus on each shot as it comes and see what happens,” said Thomas, a two-time runner-up on the MENA Golf Tour.
England’s Joy felt it was a different challenge out there, basically a question of survival because of the tough conditions. 
“On the back nine I had a little good spell, making four birdies in five holes which helped,” said Joy, the winner of the Dubai Creek Open in 2014.
Elsewhere, Danny Poulter, elder brother of Ryder Cup hero Ian, carded back-to-back 71s for a share of 20th while Morocco’s Faycal Serghini led the MENA Division for the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation Award on one over.
Aberdeen-born Clarke Lutton and Daniel Kay from Dunbar are joint 20th on 142. Lutton has had a pair of 71s while Kay sagged from an opening 67 to a 75.
The cut fell at 149 and two Scots who missed out were pro Paul Doherty (79-74 for 153) and  Lothians amateur Ben Alexander (78-78 for 156).

par 142 (2x71)
132 Jake Shepherd (Eng) 64 68, Rayhan Thomas (India) (am) 65 67
135 Luke Joy (Eng) 66 69.]
137 Zane Scotland (Eng) 66 71, Shafiq Masih (Pakistan) 68 69, Stuart Archibald (Eng) 69 68, Fredrik From (Sweden)

142 Clark Lutton 71 71, Daniel Kay 67 75 (T20)

MISSED THE CUT (149 and better qualified for final round)
153 Paul Doherty 79 74.
157 Ben Alexander (am) 78 78





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