Daniel Owen fired back-to-back six-under 66s to move within touching distance of an elusive breakthrough victory on the MENA Tour going into the final round (Wednesday) of the Ras Al Khaimah Classic at Tower Links Golf Club.
The Bahrain-based Englishman kept it clean, rolling in six birdies, three in each half, to reach 12-under for the tournament, five shots ahead of a five-man group which included European Tour veteran Stephen Dodd, who carded a second-round 67.
Overnight joint leader Max Williams, along with fellow Englishmen Jordan Garnish and Jamie Elson and Australia’s Peter Stojanovski, joined Dodd, a three-time winner on the MENA Tour, for a share of second.
Spain’s Francisco Perez and England’s Paul Dwyer, who were among a four-way tie for the lead overnight, left themselves with some work to do, though, after carding respective rounds of 73 and 72.
On a hot day, it was Owen who took charge of proceedings with a near-impeccable all-round game.
The 27-year-old said: “Played pretty solid and drove the ball very well. “I have been coming here since 2011 and know the course pretty well. It suits my eye. “I did miss a couple of greens, but never really got into much trouble. I gave myself good opportunities and made a few putts.
“Obviously, it’s hard to ignore where I am, but at the same time the game plan doesn’t change. I will try and make some early birdies to kind of settle the nerves and, hopefully, get the job done this time around.”
A three-time European Tour winner, Dood, who mixed six birdies with a lone bogey on the third in his second-round 67, could pose a significant threat to the leader if he manages to keep the momentum going all the way through.
The Welshman, who made his Senior Tour debut at the Senior Open Championship in July last year, won the 2016 Senior Italian Open, a feat which showed his hunger to scale the mountain is still as keen as ever.
Elsewhere, England’s Lee Corfield, a four-time winner on the MENA Tour, moved into a tie for 10th on five-under after a second round 71, one ahead of Craig Hinton, the winner of the 2016 MENA Tour Order of Merit title, as experienced Andrew Marshall settled for a tied 17th after a shooting a two-under 70.
England’s Todd Clements carded a 69 to top the amateur division on three-under, four shots ahead of Switzerland’s Dubai-based Michael Harradine, who backed his opening 71 with a 74.
The UAE’s Ahmed Al Musharrekh returned a second-round 75 for a total of seven-over-par 151, missing the cut, which was made at two-over, by five shots. A total of 54 professionals and nine amateurs have made it to the final round.