Peter Richardson shot a solid two-under-par 70 as MENA Golf Tour professionals made an encouraging start to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club on Thursday.
DUBAI, Feb 9 - Peter Richardson shot a solid two-under-par 70 as MENA Golf Tour professionals made an encouraging start to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club on Thursday.
The Englishman mixed five birdies, including four on the back nine, with three bogeys to finish the first round tied 35th, seven shots off the pace set by Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello.
America's Sean McNamara posted a level-par 70 while Jake Shepherd, the winner of the MENA Golf Tour Order of Merit title, settled for one over 71 after making the turn at one under.
The three professionals were handed special invitations to compete in the $2.5 million European Tour event after finishing among top three on the Order of Merit along with Morocco's Ahmed Marjan, the winner of the Order of Merit for amateurs.
Young Marjan, however, stumbled to nine over par going into the second round, five shots behind UAE's Ahmed Al Musharrekh, the only other amateur in the field.
"I am happy with the start, though it could have been better. I struck the ball well, but missed some mid-range putts. And that was a bit frustrating," said Richardson, who has finished second on the MENA Golf Tour Order of Merit, ahead of McNamara.
His fellow Englishmen Shepherd was also left ruing missed opportunities in benign conditions. "The course was in great shape and the putts were rolling the way you pictured them in your mind. I was a bit nervous at the start, but things were fine after I hit my first tee shot," said Shepherd, who teed off from the 10th.
A double-bogey on the par-3 fourth and further dropped shots on the sixth and ninth, however, undermined his day's work.
Elsewhere, Scotland's Ross Bain carded a level-par 72 while Morocco's Younes El Hassani posted a 72 with England's Ross McNamara making a 77. The three, who featured in the MENA Golf Tour, are also playing on sponsors invitations.