x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Richardson lines up for coveted Dubai event

England golfer takes his chances to lead on day one but realises only a win can give him a berth at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Peter Richardson played the best golf of the day to raise hopes of playing with Tiger Woods.
Peter Richardson played the best golf of the day to raise hopes of playing with Tiger Woods.

DUBAI // Peter Richardson set his sights on a earning a place at the Dubai Desert Classic after claiming the first round lead at the Sheikh Maktoum Dubai Open yesterday.

The Englishman shot a six under 66 and knows he needs to win the event or next week's Mena Tour finale in Al Ain to claim one of the four spots at the European Tour event which attracts some of the biggest stars in the game.

Richardson, who makes his living on minor tours in the UK and Europe, missed the first tournament in Abu Dhabi, and was third last week in Ras Al Khaimah. He acknowledges two more top-three finishes will not be enough to earn him a return trip to Dubai next year and the chance to possibly line up against Tiger Woods.

"I'm going all out for a win and if I continue to play as I have done, then I'll give myself a great chance," Richardson said.

"The thing about today was that I took my chance. It's as simple as that."

On Richardson's tail in joint-second place were the Pakistan duo of Shahid Ahmed and Aadil Jehangir while Dale Marmion (USA) and Cennydd Mills (UK) were two shots further back.

If Richardson played the best golf of the day, Zane Scotland must have taken the honour of gutsiest player in the field.

The winner of the Abu Dhabi Golf Citizen Open two weeks ago broke a bone in his right foot last week when he was in Murcia, Spain for the EuroPro Tour Championship event after being thrown in a swimming pool by some friends.

The Englishman teed-off at 9.40am yesterday with a noticeable limp and he was unsure whether he would make 18 holes. He ended up signing for a three under 69 that keeps him in contention.

"Some friends threw me in and I must have caught my foot on the edge," Scotland said. "Even when I was still in the air, I thought to myself, 'this is no good'.

"An X-ray showed that a bone was broken. I wouldn't have been able to play if it had been my left foot, and I wouldn't even be here if we couldn't use carts. The doctor told me not to play, but I explained how important it was and he has given me a lot of painkillers. To be honest, I was unsure whether I'd get past the fifth hole."



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