Richardson races into Dubai lead

Thu 18 Dec 2014

Richardson races into Dubai lead

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Dubai, December 18: Australian rookie Kalem Richardson stormed into a one-shot first round lead at the inaugural Dubai Open with a six-under-par 66 on Thursday despite not having the benefit of a practice round.
The 26-year-old Richardson, who has enjoyed two top-five finishes in his last five starts, posted one eagle and five birdies at the stunning Els Club Dubai to lead from Thai prospect Pavit Tangkamolprasert, Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing, Craig Hinton of England and MENA Tour regular Christopher Cannon of England, who returned matching 67s.
Lam Chih Bing Lam Chih Bing
Veteran Singaporean Mardan Mamat, Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavasdikul and Aussie duo Scott Barr and Nathan Holman shot 68s to stay amongst the early leaders in the final tournament of the 2014 Asian Tour season. Prom Meesawat of Thailand, who needs a win here to finish second on the Order of Merit, signed for a 71 while 2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke birdied his last hole for a 72.
Richardson was delighted that his decision to take it easy in Dubai following a five-week tournament stretch paid off with his strong start “I played pretty solid, it was a pretty crazy day. Playing golf in Dubai, it's amazing really, you just look around and see the scenery and you're just enjoying yourself and I’m feeling pretty relaxed being the last event of the year and Christmas being next week,” said Richardson.
“I've been playing solid, just the last couple weeks I've been a bit tired and this week I've taken a different approach and basically haven't done anything for three days. I hadn't actually seen the course, so I was playing blind today. It’s kind of a relax week but it would also be nice to contend again.”
The 25-year-old Pavit, who won this season’s Asian Development Tour Order of Merit following three victories, soared with two eagles, including holing a 170-yard shot from the fairway with an eight iron on the par five 18th hole.
“The first one (on 13) I hit it from 280 yards to around 10 feet, but on 18 I hit a bad drive into the bunker and then I laid up, and it's 170 to the pin, and I hit an eight iron that went in. It's big confidence from there,” said the Thai.
Lam, languishing in 80th place on the Order of Merit, needs to finish fourth or better to have any chance of saving his Tour card. The one-time Asian Tour winner said a hot putter helped him sink seven birdies.
Craig Hinton Craig Hinton
“The main thing was putting. I actually made some putts today, which it's been a while, I think, since Q-school this year,” said the Singaporean, who took 25 putts. “I've actually been playing so bad I haven't been looking at the Order of Merit for the past couple of months.My family is coming on Saturday, so I'm pretty much on holiday mode, no matter how it goes. If I play good this week, it'll be a bonus.”
Canon, 27, was one of the rare few who stayed bogey-free at the Els Club Dubai, saying an up-and-down par save on the second hole gave him the perfect confidence boost. “I had a plugged lie, so that was good, off to a good start but otherwise, I just played really solid golf. Simple as that,” said the Englishman, who has set his sights on the Asian Tour Qualifying School next month.
Hinton was surprised with his brilliant start following a season to forget where he has missed nine cuts from 11 starts. “I think I've had one round under par (this season). I couldn't tell you.  It was a shock to me; let's put it that way,” said the Englishman. “Bogeyed the first and bogeyed the last.  Middle part, 16 holes, was just flawless golf, really.”
The Dubai Open is promoted and organised by golf in DUBAi.  The Els Club Dubai is situated within the sprawling Dubai Sports City where the par-72 course combines links style golf with traditional 'classical era' design. Opened for play in 2008, the course stretches 7,538 yards and was named as ‘Best New International Course’ by prestigious US magazine, Links, and “Best New Facility of the Year” by Troon Golf.
Scores after round 1 of the Dubai Open being played at the par 72, 7,538 Yards The Els Club Dubai course (am - denotes amateur):
66 - Kalem RICHARDSON (AUS).
67 - Christopher CANNON (ENG), Pavit TANGKAMOLPRASERT (THA), LAM Chih Bing (SIN), Craig HINTON (ENG).
68 - Scott BARR (AUS), Mardan MAMAT (SIN), Nathan HOLMAN (AUS), Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA).
69 - Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA), Hamza AMIN (PAK), Bryce EASTON (RSA), Javi COLOMO (ESP), Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND).
70 - Younes EL HASSANI (MAR), Angelo QUE (PHI), Carlos PIGEM (ESP), Matthew FITZPATRICK (ENG), Marcus BOTH (AUS), CHAN Shih-chang (TPE), Jbe KRUGER (RSA), MO Joong-kyung (KOR), Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA).
Others:
71: Prom Meesawat (Tha)
72: Darren Clarke (NIR)
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