Birdies and eagles flew in flurries as the English trio of Max Williams, Daniel Owen, Paul Dwyer and Spain’s Francisco Perez shot matching six-under 66 to take a share of the lead after the opening round of the MENA Tour’s Ras Al Khaimah Classic at Tower Links Golf Club Monday.
Between them, the foursome notched up 23 birdies and four eagles – two each by Williams and Owen – against seven bogeys to sit atop a tight leaderboard, one stroke ahead of Sweden’s Jesper Alm, who mixed six birdies with a bogey.
Lee Corfield, a four-time winner on the MENA Golf Tour, overcame an early bogey on the first to shoot a four-under 68 that left him in a seven-way tie for sixth as his fellow Englishman Craig Hinton, winner of the 2016 MENA Tour’s Order of Merit title, shared 13th place a further shot adrift. Also on 69 in a four-man group was Spain’s Leo Lilja, who won the season-opening Palmeraie Country Club Casablanca Open in March.
“I played really well and very pleased with my day’s work. The course is just fantastic and in great condition,” said Williams, who drilled his nine-iron to six feet for an eagle on the 18th, apart from his first one on the fifth hole.
“It’s always nice to get an eagle, let alone two. Just kind of everything fell together, ball striking, putting and ball control.”
Bahrain-based Owen lit up his opening round with five birdies and two eagles (on the fifth and 13th) against three bogeys to put himself in contention for his maiden win on the MENA Tour.
Dwyer flew off the gate in style, making three birdies in a row and kept the momentum rolling all through, dropping just one bogey while Spain’s Perez picked up eight shots, including five on the front nine, against two bogeys on a day when 34 players broke par.
Also, Welsh ace Stephen Dodd, who plies his trade on the European Senior Tour, carded a 70 while England’s Andrew Marshall returned a 71. UAE’s Ahmed Al Musharrekh started with a four-over par 76.
Dubai-based Michael Harradine (71) rolled in three back-nine birdies after making the turn at
two over to hit the front in the amateur division, two ahead of a four-man group that included Saleh Al Kaabi.