x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Dodd finds early rhythm to set pace at Abu Dhabi Golf Citizen Open

Stephen Dodd set a course record with a six-under-par 66 to surge into a two-shot lead after the first round at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.

Welshman Stephen Dodd shot a course-record six-under-par 66 at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club yesterday for a two-stroke lead. Courtesy golf in DUBAi
Welshman Stephen Dodd shot a course-record six-under-par 66 at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club yesterday for a two-stroke lead. Courtesy golf in DUBAi

Stephen Dodd set a course record with a six-under-par 66 to surge into a two-shot lead after the first round in the Abu Dhabi Golf Citizen Open at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, the second event on the 2012 Mena Golf Tour.

But the UAE's Ahmed Al Musharrekh again endured a frustrating day, signing off with an 81.

"It wasn't the start I expected. It was tough out there. Hopefully, things would better tomorrow," he said.

Dodd, a three-time winner on the European Tour, had eight birdies, and bogeys at the eighth and 18th holes were the only blemishes on his card. Even more pleasing to him than a run of birdies was the way he got the course record.

"Everything fell in place today. I drove the ball well and hit a lot of good putts. Golf, for a change, was quite easy out there," said the 46-year-old Welshman, who was the runner-up to England's Zane Scotland in last week's Dubai Creek Open. "It's a great start to the tournament, but you never know what will happen over the next two days. I have found the early rhythm and getting close to the form where I want to be and that's something quite satisfying."

Dodd will start today's second round with a two-shot advantage over Ross McGowan, the winner of the 2009 Madrid Masters, the English amateur Tyler Hogarty and Germany's Roland Steiner.

Wales' Brian Lee was a further shot adrift and behind him were the English quartet of Steven Munro, Alex Christie, Ian Keenan and Daniel Wardrop, along with Manish Goyal of India and the Swede Fredrik Quicker.

Scotland, the defending champion who held the course record with the 67 he shot in the final round last year, had to settle for 74.

England's McGowan felt he played well overall, but made some silly mistakes.

"I double bogeyed the fifth after hitting the water and on the 11 and 12th I just couldn't make up and down. Take these three holes away, I think I played perfect golf, making some important putts on the back nine," he said.

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