x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Porteous leads crowded table ahead of Mena Golf Tour climax

Leader says he will take his opportunities while anyone from the top eight or 10 can win on the final day at Al Ain, says Zane Scotland.

Jonathan Porteous will hope to remain patient going into the Tour climax today.
Jonathan Porteous will hope to remain patient going into the Tour climax today.

Jonathan Porteous birdied his final hole yesterday to take a slender one-shot lead into today's deciding round of the Mena Tour Championship in Al Ain.

The Scotsman heads a crowded leader board by a stroke over England's Jake Shepherd at the season-ending event at the Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club, where the top eight players are separated by just three shots.

Porteous, 33, who was the joint first-round leader along with Sean McNamara of the United States, followed up his opening 65 with a score of 68 to put him on a total of nine under, which sets him up for what could be the best win of his 15 years as a professional.

"It's really tight at the top and I'll have to take my opportunities if I want to go the full distance," he said. "The key here is to remain patient."

In joint-third are McNamara and the Order of Merit leader Peter Richardson of England, the winner of the Sheikh Maktoum Dubai Open last week, on seven under.

Shepherd, 21, blew a five shot lead two weeks ago in the final round of the Ras Al Khaimah Classic. However, he believes that experience will help him this time around.

"That was an unfamiliar situation for me and I couldn't handle it," Shepherd said.

"To be honest, this time I am feeling good. One shot off the pace is a nice position to be in, something I am more familiar with."

Zane Scotland, who is playing with a broken bone in his foot, predicted an exciting final day and that his friend Shepherd would hold his nerve this time.

"Jake has all the shots in the book. All he needs is exposure to tournaments like these on the Mena Tour to further hone his skills," said Scotland, a former European Tour player who is in joint-fifth position.

"I think we are heading for a great finish here. Anyone from the top eight or 10 can win the event."

The top three professionals and the leading amateur from their respective orders of merit will be invited to play in the 2012 Omega Dubai Desert Classic to be held at the Emirates Golf Club from February 9- 12.

LEADERBOARD

Jonathan Porteous     -9     133
Jake Shepherd     -8     134
Sean McNamara     -7     135
Peter Richardson     -7     135
Gary Birch Jr.     -6     136
Aadil Jehangir     -6     136
Younes El Hassani     -6     136
Zane Scotland     -6     136
Cennydd Mills     -5    137
Shahid Ahmed     -5        137
Ross Canavan    -5    137

* Compiled by with agency