Shiv Kapur levels with Pavit Tangkamolpra­sert at DUBAi Open

Sport360 staff 08:36 20/12/2014
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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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