Monday, November 11, 2013



AL AIN – Young Moroccan amateur Ahmed Marjan surprised a deeply-talented field when he shot a sizzling six-under 65 to take joint control in the opening round of the MENA Golf Tour's season-ending Tour Championship at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and
Golf Club on Monday.
Marjan, who reeled off four birdies in a row from the fifth and added two more on the back nine in his bogey-free round, matched the day's best score carded by seasoned professionals Faycal Serghini (Morocco) and Lee Corfield (England) and take a good two-shot lead.
On a day when four amateurs broke par, England's James Allan and Switzerland's Michael Harradine also made their presence felt, taking a share of the fourth on a four-under 67 along with the English trio of Ian Keenan, Matthew Turner and Yasin Ali.
Another amateur James Yeomans of England joined England's Christopher Cannon and Dale Marmion and Switzerland's Nicholas Mullhaupt in tie for the ninth on a three-under 68, raising the prospects of a thrilling finish.
It was Marjan, the winner of the 2011 Order of Merit title for amateurs, who held sway with a solid round on a day when as many as 22 players broke par.
"I hit my approach shots close the pin and that created a plenty of birdie opportunities," said the 21-year-old from Rabat. "I have been playing really well on this tour, but it was poor putting that prevented me from posting a good number.
"Today was a different story. I holed almost all putts which was great," said Marjah, who hit 16 greens and 12 fairways.
His fellow countryman Serghini was equally delighted with his round. "Except for one silly bogey, I think I played really well. I was pretty straight off the tee and found a good rhythm on the greens," said Serghini, who played the back nine at four under.
"The course is really looking well and I had a good fun all day," said 38-year-Moroccan, who finished solo fourth at last week's Ghala Valley Open in Oman.
England's Corfield, the last week's winner, stayed in contention for finishing among top three on the Order of Merit with a tidy bogey-free round.
England's Yasin Ali felt overall he played good and made just one bogey when he three-putted on the par-3, 17th. "You have to take advantage of scoring opportunities on the first six holes, which include two par-5s, and that's the key to a good round here," said Ali. Stranraer-born Tom Buchanan, 32, playing on his home course at Al Ain, shot a two-under-par 69. Buchanan, who was two seasons at Kilmarnock and one year with Rangers as a teenage football prospect, has been in his Middle East post for two years. Buchanan birdied the first, third, ninth and 10th but bogeyed the fifth and 11th to be joint 13th at the end of the first day. Fraser McKennan and Greg Nicolson were joint 27th on 72. McKenna had a double bogey 6 at the second and a bogey 6 at the long ninth but he picked up birdies at the 12th, 14th and 15th before slipping over par again with a bogey a the 16th. Greg Nicolson was going well with birdies at the fourth and sixth until he dropped shots at the 12th, 13th and 17th. Elsewhere, Welsh ace Stephen Dodd, who is assured of a second place on the Order of Merit behind England's Zane Scotland, settled for a level-par 71 while Morocco's Mustapha El Maouas, who is currently leading the Order of Merit for amateurs, carded one-over 72.

Par 71
65 Faycal Serghini (Morocco), Lee Corfield (England), Ahmed Marjan (Morocco) (am).
67 Yasin Ali (England), Matthew Turner (England), Ian Keenan (England), Michael Harradine (Switzerland) (am), James Allan (England) (am)
68 Dale Marmion (England), Nicholas Mullhaupt (Switzerland), Christopher Cannon (England),
69 Jake Shepherd (England), Tyler Hogarty (South Africa), James Housby (England), Tom Buchanan (Scotland), Sergio Gutierrez Sánchez (Spain), Trevor Marshall (New Zealand), Younes El Hassani (Morocco)
70 Gary Knight (Kenya), Juan Salcedo (Mexico), Joshua White (England).
72 Fraser McKenna (Scotland), Greg Nicolson (Scotland).
73 Clarke Lutton (Scotland).






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