Sunday, November 02, 2014




By Viren Varm

AL AIN - Lee Corfield, pictured above, made a fast start with five birdies in the first five holes to card a sizzling eight-under 63 and establish a healthy three-shot lead going into Monday's  second and penultimate round of the MENA Tour Championship at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club, United Arab Emirates.
Defying blustery conditions, the defending champion wasted no time in seizing the initiative when he charged out of the blocks with a stunning birdie run and then kept the momentum rolling all the way through, picking up four more shots coming home.
A bogey on the par-four, 11th, however, prevented the Englishman from equalling the course record 62 posted by his compatriot Joshua White last week at the GOLF CITIZEN Masters, but he wasn't complaining.
White himself kept his hopes of catching Professional Order of Merit leader Luke Joy, with a five-under 66, which was matched by Spain's Toni Ferrer as Jake Shepherd, the winner of the Order of Merit title in 2011, occupied solo fourth a further shot back on a day when 27 of the 47 man field returned a score of par or better.
The dominant Corfield was more than satisfied with his day's work. "I am really very pleased with my efforts. It's never a bad thing to start with a good round," said the 32-year-old - it was his birthday on October 30 - who defeated Morocco's Faycal Serghini in a play-off last year to win the MENA Tour Championship.
"I gave myself plenty of chances and holed some key putts, even though it was very windy out there. There is still a long way to go, but I feel comfortable on the course, which is in fantastic condition. If you hit the fairways, you stand a good chance of making birdies," he added.
Spain's Ferrer attributed his solid round to good putting. "I hit some good putts. Used a lot of three woods to find the fairways and it feels great to come away with a bogey-free round," said the 23-year-old Spaniard. Equally pleased with his round was White.
"I picked up right where I left off last week. Just played solid golf," said White, who finished runner-up his countryman Zane Scotland in the penultimate event on this season's MENA Golf Tour.
Switzerland's Michael Harradine, who made the turn at three-under, returned a 69 to move atop the amateur division, one ahead of Amateur Order of Merit leader James Allan of England, Scottish amateur Daniel Kay and Ayoub Lguirati of Morocco.
Morocco's Ahmed Marjane produced the best performance of the day in the MENA Division for the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation Award, carding a 70 while the experienced duo of Faycal Serghini and Younes El Hassani both settled for five-over 76.
England's Luke Joy, who is currently leading the Professional Order of Merit, is in a tie for the fifth after opening with a 68 while Zane Scotland and Welshman, Stephen Dodd shot matching 71s to stay in the hunt.

Par 71
63 Lee Corfield (England)
66 Tony Ferrer (Spain)
67 Jake Shepherd (England)
68 Matt Turner (England), Ashley Rees (England), Peter Stojanovski (Macedonia), Juan Salcedo (Mexico), Luke Joy (England)
69 Clarke Lutton (Sco), Christopher Cannon (England), Xavier Puig (Spain), Michael Harradine (Spain)
70 Ayoub Lguirati (Morocco) (am), Ahmed Marjane (Morocco), Stuart Archibald (England), Daniel Kay (Sco) (am), Ahmed Marjane (Morocco)
71 Patrick Simard (Spain), Luke Towler (England), Yasin Ali (England), Tom Buchanan (Scotland), Tyler Hogarty (South Africa), Stephen Dodd (Wales), Mehdi Saiddi (amateur-Morocco), Paul Doherty (Sco), Zane Scotland (England)



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