Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Doherty and Forrest in the mix at MENA

Tour Q School in Morocco

Scots Jack Doherty and Grant Forrest are within the leading 10 players after the first round of the MENA Tour's Qualifying School  at Royal Golf El Jadida at El Jadida, Mazagan, Morocco.
The tournament is over 54 holes with a cut to the leading 70 after two rounds.
The fact that no player managed to match the par of 72 indicates that the scoring conditions were very difficult, most probably due to high winds.
Doherty is in a five-way tie for the lead on one-over-par 73.
Forrest is tied for seventh place with a 75.
Lesser well known Scots, Scott Newbould and Graeme Stewart, scored 84 and 92 respectively to be joint 40th and last of 54 respectively.
The MENA Tour takes it name from the countries in which it stated tournaments - Middle East and North Africa.




Ian Poulter's brother Danny shares lead on tough scoring day

EL JADIDA (Morocco), March 7 — Apparently drawing inspiration from the fighting spirit of his younger brother and Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter, Danny Poulter battled through tough conditions to grab a share of the lead in the opening round of the MENA Tour Qualifying School at Royal Golf El Jadida in Morocco on Tuesday.

The Englishman mixed four birdies with five bogeys in his opening 73 to move into a six-way tie at the summit of the leaderboard along with Petr Dedek of the Czech Republic, Scotland’s Jack Doherty, Reed Lindsey of the US, Billy Hemstock of England and Spain’s Leonardo Axel Lilja Moyano.

On a day when most players struggled to get their rhythm going, Poulter made the turn at two-under after opening with a birdie, but four bogeys on the back nine set him back. A birdie on the last, however, put a smile back on his face.

With three birdies and one bogey in his first 11 holes, Hemstock looked in complete control of the proceedings, but took an eight on the par-5, 18th and that aberration prevented him from taking an outright lead.
England’s Adam Ward and Charles Tortuyaux of France shared second a further shot adrift at 74, one ahead of a seven-man group that included GB and I Walker Cup winning team  star Grant Forrest , a  former Scottish amateur champion from Edinburgh.

The Frenchman produced the highlight of the day as he aced the par-3, 13th with a 54-degree wedge from 123 metres for his fourth one-in-one of his career and the first in a professional competition.

“It was tough out there because of the shifting winds. Also, the greens are pretty small and narrow and difficult to read. I missed a couple of short putts here and there, but very pleased with a 74 in such conditions,” said Tortuyaux, who is playing on the MENA Tour for the first time.

Former England cricketer Craig Kieswetter settled for a 77 after opening with three bogeys in a row to join eight others in a tie for 17th while UAE’s Ahmed Al Musharrekh carded a 79 to finish the day tied for 32th.

Elsewhere, Spain’s Gabriel Canizares, who won the MENA Tour’s Dirab Championship in a play-off against England Craig Hinton in 2015, and Canada’s Lindsay Renolds, who finished runner-up to England’s Peter Richardson at the 2012 Shaikh Maktoum Dubai Open, signed for matching 78s for a share of 26th.

The field will be narrowed down to 70 players on Wednesday for the final stage 18-hole competition to be played on Thursday. A minimum of 50 players from the final qualifying round will be eligible for Category-7 membership of the MENA Golf Tour for the 2017 season.





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