Monday, September 19, 2016

Teenager Thomas shares lead at Els Club, 

Dubai with flawless five-under 67

DUBAI — Teenager Rayhan Thomas continued his red-hot form as he carded a flawless five-under 67 to join Englishman Craig Hinton and Shahid Javed of Pakistan atop the leaderboard on the opening day of the MENA Golf Tour’s Golf Citizen Classic at the Els Club Dubai

Thomas and Javed went bogey free while Hinton countered an early bogey on the second with three birdies in a row and then picked up three more shots as the trio moved one clear at the top.

Morocco’s Ahmed Marjan, Spain’s Carlos Balmaseda, Luke Joy of England, Per Barth of Sweden and rising Scottish star Daniel Hendry were tightly grouped in the chasing pack one shot adrfit. 
Defending champion Clarke Lutton from Aberdeen was in a four-man group a further shot back on three-under 69 alongside Wira Salleh of Brunei, Scott Campbell of England and Alex Messiqua of Switzerland as 26 players broke par on day one.

England’s Hinton, who won the Johannesburg City Masters earlier this season, said: “The course is playing long, but it offers plenty of scoring opportunities as greens are rolling nicely.

“Very happy with the way I played,” said the 27-year-old Englishman from Thame, who also boasts four runner-up finishes on the MENA Golf Tour.

Thomas, a 16-year-old Dubai-based prodigy from India, was equally pleased with his day’s work. “Played very solid golf throughout again. Hope I can keep the momentum going. So far so good,” said Thomas, who boasts a second, third, first and ninth in his last four events on the tour and won the Scottish boys' open stroke-play championship earlier this year.

Going forward, Thomas can expect a strong challenge from Hendry, who, like him, learned the basic rudiments of the game at the Junior Development Programme while growing up in Dubai. 
“I think I hit all the fairways and didn’t make any major mistake out there. I felt my iron game was pretty good which led to aggression,” said Daniel, who won the prestigious Shaikh Rashid Trophy in 2011.

“Making a birdie on the long par-3, 17th was the highlight of my round. I hit my four iron to within six feet and holed the ensuing birdie putt which was quite pleasing,” said the 22-year-old amateur.

par 72
67 S Javed (Pakistan), R Thomas (India) (am), C Hinton (England).
68 A Marjan (Morocco), C Balmaseda (Spain), L Joy (England), P Barth (Sweden), D Hendry (Scotland) (am).

69 C Lutton (Sco) (T9)
70 P Doherty (Sco) (T12)
73 D Kay (Sco) (T40)



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