Shiv Kapur levels with Pavit Tangkamolpra­sert at DUBAi Open

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Perfect day at the office: Shiv Kapur has so far made just one bogey in two rounds and will be the one to catch going into the third round today

Shiv Kapur led a stunning Indian assault on the leaderboard with a second round six-under 66 to claim a share of the lead as a strong con­tingent of 11 MENA Golf Tour play­ers, spearheaded by Joshua White, made the cut at the DUBAi Open.

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Kapur, who holed his second shot from 190 yards with a six iron for an eagle on his very first hole, joined Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolpra­sert atop the leaderboard on sev­en-under, one ahead of the Indian duo of Arjun Atwal and Ganganjeet Bhullar, Simon Yates of Scotland and Wang Jeung-hun of Korea.

England’s White, the reigning MENA Tour champion, followed his opening 71 with a 68, reaching five-under to share seventh place with Daisuke Kataoka of Japan and Prom Meesawat of Thailand.

But Kapur and Tangkamolpra­sert will be the players to catch as the third round of the Asian Tour’s final event of the year gets under­way at The Els Club today.

Kapur said: “I played solid golf out there. Holing your second shot on the first hole is always a great way to start the day. I pretty much just eliminated mistakes on my card. Just one bogey in two rounds shows that.”

A double-bogey denied Pavit Tangkamolpra­sert an outright lead.

Tangkamolprasert had his chance to take the outright lead, but a double-bogey on the 16th under­mined his efforts. “I’m very happy with my performance today. I hit good irons creating a lot of birdie chances, but had one bad hole and that wasn’t pleasing,” he said.

Atwal conjured some of his old magic, carding a bogey-free 65, the best score of the tournament thus far.

“It felt really good – like the old days,” said the 41-year-old Atwal, a former Asian Tour No1 and the first Indian winner to play on the PGA Tour. “No mistakes, no bogeys, just solid golf. The course was playing easier than yesterday afternoon – a good score was gettable.”

Crowd favourite Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland was cruising at three-under par but a double bogey on his last for a 71 leaves him six off the pace. Golf in DUBAi ambassa­dor, Matt Fitzpatrick of England, recorded another solid round of a 71 to stay in contention at three-under.

Scott Simon Yates is tied with three others.

MENA Golf Tour players had a glint in their eyes as they made tremendous gains with 11 out of 24 making it to the weekend. “To be honest, I am not really surprised to see so many MENA Golf Tour play­ers doing well,” said White.

“They are all very good players, even the amateurs that play on the tour are very good. As you can tell from here, there’s not that much difference. But it’s really good to see, and a lot of the Arab players going through as well. The game is progressing in the region, which is really good.”

It’s a tribute to the fighting qual­ity of Morocco’s Younes El Hassani, who played through severe lower back pain and still carded a steady 74, moving into a tie for 46 on level par. “After nine holes, I thought of quitting, but I kept pushing myself and it worked.

“Now that the pressure of mak­ing the cut is off I can go all out for top 10 or top 20 over the weekend, I just hope my back holds up,” said El Hassani, one of two Arabs along with amateur compatriot Mehdi Saissi, who have made the cut.

“Whatever the result, the expe­rience of playing in my first Asian Tour event is something which will benefit me in the future,” he said.

The halfway cut was set at 145 with 66 players making it to the weekend. Notables who will not play the weekend are England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who needed a 16th place finish to break into the top-50 in the world, and former Omega Dubai Desert Classic cham­pion David Howell. 

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Buildmart Oman takes top prize at 16th Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge

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Winning smiles: Faiz Riaz and Tenzin Tsarong of Buildmart Oman celebrate winning the Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge.

The Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge has concluded its 2014 edition over a two-day grand final event held in Ras Al Khaimah.

With winners from twelve qualifying rounds coming together to play at two iconic golf courses, the final tournament was a closely contested finish which was won by reigning champions Team Buildmart from Oman.

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Team Oman, comprising of Faiz Riaz and Tenzin Tsarong, posted a score of 119. So Safe Water from the UAE (Usman Mahmood and Noman Mahmood) took second place with a score of 118, with the Mas Clearsight team of Anish Bhatia and Ashok Sindhu eight shots behind in third.

The two-day format of the final challenge saw the first round at Tower Links Golf Club, played in the ‘Betterball Stableford’ format. The second day’s play was at the Al Hamra Golf Club in the ‘Aggregate Stableford’ format, and final scores took into consideration scores from both days’ games. Players stayed overnight at the luxurious Waldorf hotel in Ras Al Khaimah.

As destination partner for the 16th Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Authority played a key role in ensuring the success of the Grand Finals.

Steven Rice, CEO Ras Al Khaimah Tourism, said: “The Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is emerging as one of the preferred tourism destinations. With two golf courses that meet international standards, RAK is proving to be an attractive destination for prestigious events such as the Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge.”

“We have identified Noor Dubai as the cause that we wished to support through this year’s edition. The funds that we raised through the course of the Challenge will be matched by Xerox Emirates. We appreciate the work undertaken by Noor Dubai to address avoidable blindness in developing countries”, he added.

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WIN a chance to play with golf’s biggest names at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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Hoping for one better: Justin Rose finished second in a nail-biting finale at last year's Championship.

Golf fans from across the world have been invited to join in the ten year celebrations and share their most memorable moments from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on social media.

The Championship will recognise its tenth anniversary in January and is offering fans the chance to win a spot in the Pro-Am and play with the world’s top golfers.

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The competition, which launches on Wednesday, will run until 3 January 2015 with the hashtag #ADunexpected.  One lucky winner, who uploads the most eye-catching photo, will secure a Pro-Am place and the opportunity to play on the Championship-ready course which will host the likes of Rory McIlory, Justine Rose and Martin Kaymer.

Fans are invited to share their photographs across the Championship’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. A selection of photographs will then be used in a giant celebratory collage which will be displayed at the Championship, allowing fans of all ages to relive the UAE’s favourite moments from the past decade.  

Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, which owns and organises the Championship, said: “We have a lot of plans in place for our tenth anniversary and this competition will help people to reflect and remember just how far the Championship has evolved and grown over the past decade.”

“There have been many special moments along the way, and we are really looking forward to seeing what fans have captured over the years.”

Tailored package details for the 2015 Championship, held from January 15 – 18, are available from www.golfinabudhabi.com . All those who book packages will enjoy a complimentary clinic with a world top 30 player.   

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