x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Scotland in familiar spot at Mena Tour opener

Zane Scotland is trying to extend an already-impressive feat this week at the Mena Tour’s season opener in Morocco as the Englishman shot a 4-under 68 on Tuesday and is two shots off the first-round lead at the Royal D’Anfa Open.

Zane Scotland of England shot a 4-under 68 on Tuesday to take the first-round lead at the Royal D’Anfa Open in Mohammedia. Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Zane Scotland of England shot a 4-under 68 on Tuesday to take the first-round lead at the Royal D’Anfa Open in Mohammedia. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

When a tour is just over three years old, eyebrow-raising records can be few and far between.

But Zane Scotland is nonetheless trying to extend an already-impressive feat this week at the Mena Tour’s season opener in Morocco.

The Englishman shot a 4-under 68 on Tuesday and is two shots off the first-round lead at the Royal D’Anfa Open in Mohammedia, where he is trying to win the tour’s season opener for the fourth time in as many Mena seasons.

“It was a pretty good day at work,” said Scotland, a six-time Mena winner. “I played solid golf, which was nice. I think conditions were pretty good for scoring, since there was no wind.”

Scotland won four times last year and claimed the tour’s Order of Merit. However, at this particular event, he lost in a playoff. The highlight of the round came when Scotland eagled the 16th hole after knocking a 5-iron second shot to within 20 feet.

“The course is in great condition and greens are rolling nice,” he said.

England’s Joshua White, who turned pro last fall, shot 66 in the afternoon round to take the lead.

Italy’s Alessandro Tadini is three strokes back, tied with Spain’s Toni Ferrer and Scotland’s Paul Dougherty. Playing in his first Mena event, Tadini made a good start but missed some easy putts from close range.

“My long game was pretty good, as always, but I just played fantastic from 130 metres to the pin,” said the 40-year-old Italian, who was in the first group off the tee. “My putting was so-so, as I missed at least four easy putts, all from within three meters.

“The course is in great condition, but things will become interesting if the wind picks up, when it won’t be easy to go low.”

Ross McGowan, a former European Tour player, is in a five-way tie for sixth, though he four-putted three times.

“Which wasn’t good,” he said.

“The course is just fantastic. If you are accurate off the tee, you can create plenty of scoring opportunities,” McGowan said. “I think I need to improve if I aim to capitalise on those opportunities.”

Tadini’s best finish on the European Tour is a top-five at the 2005 Welsh Open. Defending champion Stephen Dodd of Wales, who finished joint 17th in the European Tour event in Morocco last Sunday, settled for a 74. Moroccan native Younes El Hassani led the home charge with a 71.

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