x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Dubai Desert Classic is the prize for Peter Richardson

The leader at the Sheikh Maktoum Dubai Open eyes an European Tour opening, but he will put the prospect of bigger things to come to the back of his mind ahead of the final day on Wednesday.

Peter Richardson is feeling relaxed despite the prospect of winning the biggest tournament of his golfing career.
Peter Richardson is feeling relaxed despite the prospect of winning the biggest tournament of his golfing career.

DUBAI // Peter Richardson said he is feeling calm ahead of the biggest day of his golfing life.

The Englishman takes a two-stroke lead into Wednesday's final round at the Sheikh Maktoum Dubai Open after overcoming windy conditions on the Al Badia course to post a 68, which took him to 10 under for the championship.

It was his fifth sub-par round out of five on the Mena Tour.

"Being in this position is quite relaxing, to be honest," said the 27 year old, who carded a 66 in the first round. "Although this would be the biggest win of my life by some way.

"The money would come in handy but it's [the chance of] getting a start in maybe five European Tour events that is driving us all on. We know about the Desert Classic and there is talk that a top-three place will get you to more than just that, although that would be good enough.

"It would mean an awful lot. I have said all along that you would probably need to win to make the top three, so if I finish the job I would be halfway there.

"I know what is there for me if I win, but I'll need to put it to the back of my mind."

Sitting two shots back is Dale Marmion, also from England, who had a second successive four-under round 68, which leaves him on a total of eight under.

Richardson could not only win US$9,000 (Dh33,000), but following on from his joint-third place in the second event of this inaugural tour, at Ras Al Khaimah, he would have an excellent chance of finishing in the top three of the professional Order of Merit, and that would gain him entry to the Dubai Desert Classic in December.

While Richardson is the favourite going into Wednesday's final round, there are a clutch of players who will feel they still have a chance.

In joint-third place are Simon Dunn (whose 66 was the lowest score of the day on Tuesday) and Mark Chamberlain, both from the UK, Faycal Serghini of Morocco and Aadil Jehangir from Pakistan who are all on seven under.

Marmion hopes to draw on experiences from previous wins to get him over the line.

"I have got a big day ahead of me but I've been in similar situations before so I know how to deal with it," he said. "It's a bit embarrassing as I've got to go back a bit because I've not been in this position for a long time.

"I won twice in a year on the EuroPro Tour but that was back in 2008. Zane Scotland, who won in Abu Dhabi, is a friend of mine so it would be nice to emulate him here."

The cut was six over with 40 professionals and 11 amateurs making Wednesday's final day.

ncameron@thenational.ae


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