x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Rookie professional Nicholson has an ace day at Saadiyat

Scot hits hole in one at Abu Dhabi Golf Citizen Open.

Greg Nicholson is congratulated by Mena organiser Mohamed Juma Buamaim.
Greg Nicholson is congratulated by Mena organiser Mohamed Juma Buamaim.

ABU DHABI //Greg Nicholson's professional career was little more than a day old when he registered a hole-in-one at the Abu Dhabi Golf Citizen Open yesterday.

The 25 year old from Scotland could not keep the smile off his face after his ace at the 168-yard par-three sixth hole on day two of the inaugural Mena Tour.

Nicholson knew he had hit the ball sweetly with his nine iron as he watched it sail through the air, but dared not believe Graeme Stewart, his playing partner, who could tell what had just happened.

"As soon as I hit, I thought it had a chance," Nicholson said. "It was right at the flag and pitched just a couple of inches from the hole, but I couldn't see what happened next because some of the green was hidden.

"Graeme said to me 'that's in' because he heard a noise which made him think it had rolled in the cup. I didn't believe it until we walked up and there it was. I couldn't have hit the shot any better. It was the best of my round by quite some way.

"And that's my first ever hole-in-one. I always wanted it to mean something and to do it in my first ever professional golf event is really special."

Nicholson arrived in the UAE last week still an amateur and he has given himself three years to make a living on the professional circuit. He only took up golf on a serious basis when he was 18.

"I turned pro yesterday [Monday] and I really want to give this a go for three years. I have a degree in golf scholarship from Long Island University in the States, so I have that to fall back on.

"My brother, Geoff, lives in Abu Dhabi so the Mena Tour is perfect for me as I can live with him and it cuts down the costs."

Nicholson fought back with a round of 70 yesterday, which followed on from a 77 on Monday.

"I must have missed six putts from 10 feet," said Nicholson after his second round. "From 168 yards, I didn't have a problem."

ncameron@thenational.ae


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