MUSCAT // Englishman Joshua White stormed into the early lead as Morocco’s Faycal Serghini led the region’s charge on the opening day of the Mena Tour’s inaugural Ghala Valley Open on Monday.
White fired a course-record seven-under 65 with eight birdies to take a two-shot lead over Mexico’s Roberto Rodriguez Cacho, with Serghini, Scotland’s Conor O’Neil and Switzerland’s Nicholas Mullhaupt tied for third after opening with 68s.
Morocco’s Ahmed Reda Rhazali, Swiss amateur Michael Harradine, Christopher Cannon of England, Blair Wilson of New Zealand and Pakistan’s Hamza Amin all shot 69.
Another Moroccan, Younes El Hassani, claimed a share of 10th in a group that included the English duo of Yasin Ali and Tom Boys and the South African twosome of Tyler Hogarty and MG Keyser
It was White who dominated the proceedings at Ghala Valley Golf Club.
“It’s a pretty tight course, where there is hardly any room for an error,” said the Englishman, 22, who is based at Chipstead Golf Club in London.
“I picked a good day to hit it straight and picked a good day to hole putts.
“I have been playing on the [Mena] tour this season and it feels nice to pull together a good round.”
White turned pro last year and his best Mena finish is sixth in the Dubai Open.
Mexico’s Rodriguez Cacho was equally pleased with his efforts, despite finishing with a double-bogey when he hit into the water on his last hole. It cost him a share of the lead.
“I struck the ball pretty well and hit most of the fairways and greens which helped in the end,” said Rodriguez Cacho, 25, who lives in Texas and turned pro last November.
The top two players on the tour Order of Merit, Zane Scotland and Stephen Dodd – who have six wins between them – are not playing this week.
Last week’s winner at Qatar, Lee Corfield of England, was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. He shot 74.
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