x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Richardson is untouchable on Mena Tour's Dubai leg

The consistent 27 year old never dropped the lead and won the Sheikh Maktoum Dubai Open at Al Badia Club today.

Peter Richardson was dtermined from day one to win the tournament and have a crack at the Dubai Desert Classic
Peter Richardson was dtermined from day one to win the tournament and have a crack at the Dubai Desert Classic

Peter Richardson was left tingling with excitement after his convincing victory at the Sheikh Maktoum Dubai Open yesterday.

The 27 year old Englishman carded a third and final round score of 66, to finish on 16-under par at Al Badia Golf Club, and on the verge of lining up with some of the biggest names in the game at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Richardson now leads the Mena Tour Order of Merit for professionals, with one tournament remaining, with the top three gaining entry to next February’s European Tour event.

“I was at the Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews a few weeks ago, just to watch, and it was amazing to see the top players on the driving range,” he said.

“It sends a shiver down my spine to think I could be in the same tournament as them.”

Richardson’s final score was four shots clear of Canada’s Lindsay Renolds and Dale Marmion, of England, who were tied for second place.

Richardson who led from the start to finish and, at one stage yesterday, was seven shots ahead of the field.
Renolds shot a superb 64 to motor up the leader board, while Marmion picked up seven shots on his final nine holes.

But neither was ever going to catch a dominant Richardson in the penultimate Mena Tour event.

“It’s not sunk in yet and won’t for a few days,” he said.

“I’m over the moon that I managed to finish the job. I can’t quite believe it, but this is a wonderful feeling.

“I had plenty of birdies again and that kept me ahead of the others. But I couldn’t really relax because I didn’t know if any of the guys ahead of me had gone really low.

“So I had to keep going and didn’t make any bogeys, which made me think I was probably okay. This is my first big win in four years as a pro and I’ll try to enjoy it.”

The prize money goes up to US$13,500 (Dh50,000) for first place next week at the Mena Tour Championship, compared to the past three weeks when the winner has taken home $9,000.

Three more decent rounds for Richardson in the final Tour event will all but guarantee him a place at the Desert Classic.

Marmion, who began the day two shots back in second place, knew it was over for him by the time he got to the turn.

“I had such a disappointing front nine and was three over at the halfway stage and out of it,” he said. “Then I woke up and birdied seven of my next nine holes. Although I don’t think anyone was going to catch Peter because he played brilliantly.”

Renolds came from nowhere to finish joint-second (both players earned $6,000) with a remarkable final round eight-under score of 64, a new record for this Tour.

“I owed that round to my iron play. All my birdies came within 15 feet at most,” he said. “I played OK for the first two rounds, but today everything came together.”

ncameron@thenational.ae