x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Hinton’s five birdies push him a stroke up in first round

Newly minted English pro Craig Hinton seized the early initiative on the opening day of the Mena Tour’s Abu Dhabi Golf Citizen Open at Saadiyat Beach Club on Monday.

ABU DHABI // Newly minted English pro Craig Hinton seized the early initiative on the opening day of the Mena Tour’s Abu Dhabi Golf Citizen Open at Saadiyat Beach Club on Monday.

Hinton, who turned professional last month, fired a four-under 68 to take a one-stroke lead over Nicholas Mullhaupt of Switzerland and Stuart Arch, and is two better than Spain’s Antonio Arjona Bueno.

Hinton, who last year represented England in the Eisenhower Trophy – the biennial world amateur team championship – amassed five birdies, including four on the back nine, to overshadow many seasoned professionals in the field.

His lone bogey came at the par-4 16th.

Four shots back is Welshman Stephen Dodd, a three-time winner on the European Tour and the defending Mena Tour champion.

Zane Scotland, who has won four of the six Mena events staged this season, slipped to a four-over par 76 after playing the last six holes in six-over. Scotland, who finished with a round-wrecking double-bogey, won the Abu Dhabi event in 2011.

Morocco’s Yassine Touhami leads the amateur division with a level-par 72, one shot ahead of Rahyan Thomas, who is 13 years old.

Thomas, a Dubai-based player from India, disqualified himself at last week’s Ras Al Khaimah Classic after signing for an incorrect score, but he bounced back at the 7,806-yard ocean course, designed by Gary Player.

Scotland’s David Law, who finished second in consecutive weeks, admitted to playing “poorly” with a round of three-over 75.

Also in that category was South Africa’s Tyler Hogarty, who finished with a four-over 76.

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