AJMAN — Henric Sturehed fired a sizzling course record 63 to propel himself to the top of the leaderboard heading into the penultimate round of the MENA Tour Championship at Al Zorah Golf Club on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old Swede, two back at the start, notched up eight birdies and an eagle against a lone bogey to reach 13-under for the tournament, opening up a healthy five-shot lead over England’s Andrew Marshall, who carded a solid second-round 66.
Overnight leader Jamie Elson of England joined Canada’s Lindsay Renolds in a two-way tie for third on seven-under after a no-frills 71 as Luke Joy, Fredrik From of Sweden and Tim Gornik of Slovenia shared fourth a further two shots adrift.
“Conditions were a bit tougher today because of cross winds, but I had a good, solid day. Very pleased with my efforts. Struck the ball nicely and putted quite well. My approaches were spot on and that created plenty of scoring opportunities.
“I am feeling good about my game which is great. You can’t complain after shooting a nine-under 63,” said Sturehed who chipped in for an eagle on the par-5, fourth after his six-iron approach from 218 yards wound up just outside the green.
“You never know tomorrow holds as there are many good players in the field and anything can happen. I need to stick to my game plan and keep the feel-good vibes going,” said the Swede, who made three birdies in a row from the 16 to end his round with a flourish.
England’s Marshall, a two-time winner on the MENA Tour, responded to an early bogey on the second with seven birdies, including four on the back nine, to keep alive his chances of going the full distance this time round.
Taylor Carter returned a 69 to join fellow Englishman Sam Hobday at the top of the amateur division on two under as overnight joint leader Todd Clements slipped to one over after settling for a second round 76.
Elsewhere, England’s Jake Shepherd kept himself in the frame for a strong finish, taking a share of eighth after posting a 69 as South Africa’s Tyler Hogarty, tied for second overnight, fell into a tie for 17th after returning a 77.
The English duo Zane Scotland and Lee Corfield, who between them share 14 MENA Tour titles, finished the second round in a tie for 22nd on one over while Craig Hinton, the winner of the 2016 Order of Merit title, occupied tied 40th on six-over 150.
An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region. It is affiliated to R&A, the worldwide golf governing body based in the home of golf, St Andrews, and the Arab Golf Federation and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status.
Multiple European Tour starts, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Maybank Championship Malaysia, and the KLM Open are some of the added incentives that await the leading MENA Tour stars, in addition to playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour, and exemptions into the Final Stage of the Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour Q-Schools.