x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Serghini surges clear of field to lead Royal Golf Dar Es Salam Open

Defending champion Zane Scotland three shots off pace while Joshua White struggles in first round

Faycal Serghini of Morocco, pictured during the first round of the Trophee du Hassan II on March 22, 2012, shot a four-under 69 to take the first-round lead at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam Open on Tuesday. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images
Faycal Serghini of Morocco, pictured during the first round of the Trophee du Hassan II on March 22, 2012, shot a four-under 69 to take the first-round lead at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam Open on Tuesday. Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

RABAT, MOROCCO // Faycal Serghini picked up where he left off last week to set the early pace on Tuesday in the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam Open.

The leading Moroccan pro, who teed off in the day’s second group at 7.40am, opened with a steady four-under 69 to claim the clubhouse lead as top players, including defending champion Zane Scotland and Welshman Stephen Dodd, had just started their rounds.

“It was a good day at work. Played very steady golf and made three in birdies in a row from the 14th, which kind of lifted my round,” said Casblanca native Serghini, who mixed six birdies, including four on the back nine, with two bogeys.

“I felt good with my putter and, I think, it did a pretty decent job, even though I three-putted the 12th. You just complain after shooting a 69, which is my favourite number.”

“The course is in immaculate condition, the best I have seen for many years,” added the experienced Moroccan, 39, who lost to England’s Joshua White after taking a four-shot lead with four holes to go in last week’s Royal D’Anfa Open.

“He [White] played better than I did, simple as that. I shot a 67 in the final round, which shows I also played some solid golf that day. This time it could be my turn, you never know. I will try and give my shot and see what happens.”

There are 104 players, including 22 amateurs, in the event, hoping to tame the course. The field includes former European Tour players such as Ross McGowan of England, Italy’s Alessandro Tadini and Asian Tour veteran Yasin Ali.

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