Max Orrin and Pontus Widegren lead way after opening round of Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge
Max Orrin and Pontus Widegren lead the way after the opening round of the Ras Al Khaimah 2016 Golf Challenge, both firing seven-under-par rounds of 65 to share the lead at Al Hamra Golf Club.
The pair also now share the course record and hold a one-shot advantage over the field in the penultimate European Challenge Tour event of the season.
The stakes this week are hig, though Sweden’s Widegren – 61st on the Road to Oman – is in particular need of a good performance, with only the top 46 in the rankings qualifying for next week’s season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final.
• European Challenge Tour: Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge ready to make its mark
“I’m trying to see it as a ‘nothing to lose’ situation,” Widegren said. “There’s pressure, but I really feel very loose this week. The goal is to qualify for Grand Final, but I’m just trying to stay loose and keep playing well.
“I like the weather here and I’m playing some good golf. It’s been a very tough year, and I’ve struggled to put the scores together for a long time.
“That changed in Kazakhstan, and a top 10 there is what got me into these tournaments at the end of the year to give myself a chance of keeping my card.”
Orrin, a two-time Challenge Tour winner, is also targeting a good performance as he looks to climb from his position of 21st into the top 16, who will all earn European Tour cards come close of play next week.
The Englishman arrived in RAK on the back of a tied-fourth finish in the Foshan Open and was delighted to have maintained that form.
“I played well last week, managed to put four good rounds together,” he said. “This week I’m just trying to do the same.
“I’m coming into form at the right time. There’s a lot of points up for grabs and this is the time of season where, if you haven’t been playing well, you can have a couple of good weeks and it’s job done.”
Behind the pair are Scott Henry, Espen Kofstad, Romain Langasque and Martin Wiegele, all on six-under par.
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Updated: October 26, 2016 04:00 AM