x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Rough start for Al Musharrekh as professional on Mena Tour

Newly turned professional struggles but early leader Scotland sizzles on back nine at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club Open.

Ahmed Al Musharrek had a tough first day at office as professional at the Dubai Creek & Yacht Club in Dubai.
Ahmed Al Musharrek had a tough first day at office as professional at the Dubai Creek & Yacht Club in Dubai.

DUBAI // Ahmed Al Musharrekh, the UAE's No 1 golfer, had a tough introduction to life as a professional yesterday on the opening day of the Mena Tour.

Al Musharrekh shot a 10-over par 81 at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club Open to leave him 16 shots off the lead.

"It was crazy out there, a tougher day than I thought. Nothing worked for me," he said. "Tomorrow is another day. Let's see how things shape up."

England's Zane Scotland tops the leaderboard with a flawless six-under par 65.

Playing his first round ever at the 6,967-yard, par-71 Dubai Creek course, the former European Tour player effectively strung his bogey-free round to seize the early initiative, one shot ahead of Fredrik Quicker of Sweden and Cennydd Mills from Wales.

Scotland, 29, the winner of the Abu Dhabi Golf Citizen Open last year in the inaugural season, made the most of the early conditions, making the turn at one under before exploding on the back nine which he lit up with five birdies, including three in a row from the 16th.

"I couldn't have asked for a better start. Everything fell in place," said Scotland, once hailed as the new Tiger Woods when he won a nationwide competition titled Search For A Tiger, aged 14, before a car accident in 2003 and then a serious wrist injury in 2007 undermined his career.

"If I can keep the momentum going, I think I can expect a good result," said Scotland.

The early leader birdied the eighth, 10th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th.

"The course is in great shape and the greens are rolling nice," said Scotland, who was in the first three-ball that teed off at 6.50am.

Back down the field, Stephen Dodd, a three-time winner on the European Tour, settled for one-under par 71.

"It was a bit tricky since winds picked up later in the day. I missed a couple of scoring opportunities despite hitting some solid putts. That's golf," he said.

England's Max Williams led the field in the amateur division, shooting two-under par 69. Ahmed Marjan, the winner of the Order of Merit for Amateurs last year, signed off with a three-over par 74.

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