Monday, October 05, 2015

 Hinton and Canizares share lead in Saudi Arabia  as Paul Doherty takes week off

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Craig Hinton and Gabriel Canizares shot matching seven-under 65s today share the lead after the first round of the American Express Dirab Golf Championship on the MENA Golf Tour.

Playing in the day’s very second group, England’s Hinton took full advantage of benign morning conditions at Dirab Golf and Country Club, reeling off one eagle and six birdies against a lone bogey while Canizares of Spain went bogey-free as the duo moved three shots clear of rising English amateur James Allan.

Prince Khaled Saud Al Faisal spearheaded the Saudi challenge with a two-over 74 after making the turn at two under as Morocco’s Ayoub Lguirati fired a three-under 69, highlighted by three birdies in a row from the 14th
Said Hinton:“It’s one of my best rounds on the MENA Golf Tour. This is one course where wind doesn’t come into play and that helped,” said Hinton, who played on the Asian Tour in 2014.

“I picked up three birdies on the front nine which kind of built up the momentum and kept the things going,” said the Englishman whose round included an eagle on the par-five, 13th after he birdied the 11th and 12th. 

“I hit my seven iron from 190 yards to within six feet and holed the ensuing putt,” said Hinton who finished with a birdie after dropping the lone shot at the 17th.

“The key to going low on this course is to keep the ball in play. You can find yourself in big trouble if you miss the tree-lined fairways which are quite narrow,” said the 27-year-old from Thame, Oxfordshire. 

Two under at the turn, Canizares picked up five shots during a five-hole stretch on the back nine, studded with an eagle on the par-five, 15th, to round off a great day at work.

Elsewhere, Spain’s Xavier Puig joined English amateur Elliott Oxlade and Morocco’s Lguirati in a tie for the fourth after returing a three-under 69, one ahead fellow Spaniard Mariano Ochoa, South Africa’s Thriston Arthur Lawrence and England’s Chris McDonnell. 
Scot Paul Doherty, a winner on the MENA Tour this season and current leader of the Order of Merit with $16,000, is not playing in this week's event. 
 par 72

65 Craig Hinton (England) and Gabriel Canizares (Spain)

68 James Allan (England) (amateur)

69 Ayoub Lguirati (Morocco), Elliott Oxlade (England) (amateur), Xavier Puig (Spain)

70 Mariano Ochoa (Spain), Thriston Arthur Lawrence (South Africa), Chris McDonnell (England)

71 Trevor Marshall (New Zealand), Luke Joy (England), Sixto Casabona-navarro (Spain), Fredrik Lindblom (Sweden)

70 Shafiq Masih (Pakistan), Tom Boys (England), Victor Bertran (Spain), Ramon Mestre (Spain)



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