x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Lewis leads the pack with a 64

Tom Lewis turns into the junior equivalent of Lee Westwood as he tore apart one of the country's most fearsome golf courses.

ABU DHABI // Tom Lewis turned into the junior equivalent of Lee Westwood yesterday as he tore apart one of the country's most fearsome golf courses. Five days after Westwood had scorched the Earth Course in Dubai with a record-breaking final round of 64 to capture the Dubai World championship and the Race to Dubai, Lewis, 18, posted the same score in his opening competitive round at the National course in Abu Dhabi.

It gave the teenager, who hails from Hertfordshire, within London's commuter belt, a commanding seven-stroke lead to take into today's second round of the Abu Dhabi Junior Championship, presented by the Daily Telegraph. Remarkably, he felt the need to go to the driving range shortly after his brilliant performance because he felt his game was not as good as it could be. "I've been battling against a hook off the tee," he complained.

No one would have noticed as, going round the turn of the European Tour venue, he embarked on a breathtaking run of five straight birdies which took him clear of the best young players in Britain and Ireland who qualified for these finals by emerging from a series of heats throughout the season. Lewis is taking nothing for granted as he homes in on another title to go with the English and British Boys' championships which he holds.

"My only target is to beat the score of 12 under that Stiggy [Hodgson] and Tommy [Fleetwood] tied with here last year." At eight under, that objective is well within reach. His nearest pursuer is Bristol's Chris Lloyd, who was the only other player to break par. In the girls competition, Holly Clyburn, Sophie Godley and Alex Peters are all tied for the lead at one under par. wjohnson@thenational.ae