Sunday, October 30, 2016

Paul Doherty (68) sharing second place in MENA Tour Championship first round

MUSCAT, Oman — Daniel Owen opened with a tidy five-under 67 to seize the early initiative in the MENA Tour Championship as Order of Merit leader Craig Hinton finished the day two shots off the pace today at Muscat Hills Golf Club in Oman.
England’s Owen mixed six birdies with a lone bogey to move one clear of his fellow countryman Max Williams and Scotland’s Paul Doherty on a day when 26 players broke par.
Doherty, a former Scottish U18 boys champion, birdied the ninth, 11th, 16th and 17th, dropping only one shot, at the fifth in halves of 35 and 33 for a 68.
A two-time winner on the tour this season, Hinton is one of six players tied for fourth place on three-under-par 69,along with his playing partner Zane Scotland, Joe Heraty, Jordan Garnish, all of England, Mariano Ochoa of Spain and Per Barth of Sweden.
Owen sounded very pleased with his day’s efforts, saying he struck the ball well and gave himself some decent scoring opportunities there. “I didn’t miss any green and played some solid golf,” said the Englishman who fell just one shy of equalling the course record.

“I chipped in from 20 yards on the first and that set the tone for the round. In fact, I never really got myself into any sticky situation which was the key,” said the Bahrain-based professional, who is seeking his first win on the MENA Golf Tour.
England’s Hinton made the turn at one over and then picked up four shots in a row from the 13th, but a bogey-bogey finish undermined what would have been an excellent round.
“I played really well on the back nine, but made some horrible mistakes that resulted in bogeys. It was kind of an up and down round and I feel I left at least three shots out there,” said the 27-year-old Thame native.
England’s Williams, who made six birdies against two bogeys, said he holed lots of good putts to keep the round going. “Very happy with my opening round. I made some good par saves, especially the one on the 15th which kept me track,” said Williams, who won the MENA Golf Tour Order of Merit title for amateurs in 2012.
Scottish boys' open stroke-play champion Rayhan Thomas (India), who won the best amateur award at the Ras Al Khaimah 2016 Golf Challenge on Saturday, returned a 71 to lie just one off the pace set by England’s Benjamin David in his division. 
“I struck the ball really well and created some good scoring chances, but my short game wasn't as sharp as it ought to be. Still I managed to finish in red numbers which is good,” said the 16-year-old prodigy, who flew into Muscat just hours before his earning morning tee time.
Featuring 52 professional and nine amateurs, the MENA Tour Championship will have no cut after the second round.

Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club, Oman
Par 72

67 D Owen (Eng)
68 P Doherty (Sco), M Williams (*Eng)
69 Z Scotland (Eng), C Hinton (Eng), J Heraty (Eng), M Ochoa (Spa), P Barth (Swe), J Garnish (Eng).
75 C Lutton (Sco) (T47).



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