x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Close shaves leave Jimmy Mullen frustrated

The Englishman takes a two-shot lead over the Dubai-based Dan Hendry into today's final round of the Abu Dhabi Junior Golf Championship.

Jimmy Mullen takes a two-shot lead into today’s final round at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Jimmy Mullen takes a two-shot lead into today’s final round at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

ABU DHABI // Jimmy Mullen said he was not completely satisfied with himself despite his round of 70 giving him a two-shot lead going into today's final round of the Abu Dhabi Junior Golf Championship.

Englishman Mullen, 18, produced a 70 to go along with his opening round of 69, which puts him at five-under for the tournament, two shots ahead of the Dubai-based Dan Hendry, who represents Scotland.

Mullen though said poor putting stopped him from carding an even lower score.

"I played pretty similar to my opening round, but I kept missing short putts and must have shaded three inside five feet," Muller said.

"Dan was doing the same and one of us could easily have been four shots clear."

Mullen, Hendry and third-placed Oliver Carr, from England, are the only players below par. However, the leader insisted that the course is set up for sub-70 scores.

"It is very easy to score out there. I'm not thinking about winning but I really do have a great chance," he said.

"I've hit exactly the same shots at each hole now over the last two days and I intend to do the same in my last round."

Hendry, 17, is fresh from winning the Sheikh Rashid Trophy by four shots on Saturday and will still believe he is in with a chance of claiming another title in this 54-hole stroke play event.

In the girls' event, Hayley Davis, of England, looks set to defend the title she won in the UAE capital last year as she takes a four-shot lead into today's final round.

Her superb score of 64 yesterday, eight-under par, gives her a clear gap of four shots over her nearest challenger, fellow countrywoman Lauren Taylor.

Davis, 18, believes that more hard work remains to be done in her third and deciding round at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. However, this personal-best of 64, which was 10 shots better than her first round, puts her on six under for the tournament and in great shape to retain her crown.

"There are low scores to be had out here and it is still all to play for," she said. "I was five shots off the lead at the start of the day and that shows that anything can happen.

"I hit the ball really well and putted nicely, too. The greens and fairways are soft and that's to my liking. I've had a few 66s before but never shot lower than that so I'm really happy, especially as I only birdied one of the par fives out there.

"I managed to hole a 40-footer, as well, and I think my up-and-down save for par on the 17th was really important as it held my round together."

The day's biggest mover was Amy Boulden, of Wales, even if it was in the wrong direction.

A round of 74 undid much of her good work on Tuesday, when she shot a three-under 69. She slipped to third.

ncameron@thenational.ae