x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Yousuf still in contention despite last-hole drama

The UAE's No 1 golfer lost four balls and shot an 11 on the final hole at Yas Links.

Khalid Yousuf in action at Yas Links.
Khalid Yousuf in action at Yas Links.

ABU DHABI // Khalid Yousuf will find it difficult to forget the final hole of yesterday's second round for Nomura Cup qualifying as he took an 11 and lost four balls.

Thankfully for the Emirates Golf Club man, a superb first round of 73 on Thursday should make up for his second score of 88 as, in all likelihood, it will still be good enough for him to make the UAE team for August's Asian Amateur Tournament in Fiji.

But Yousuf's nightmare on the long 18th allowed brothers Abdulla and Ahmed al Musharrekh to come through and narrowly share the lead going into what for them today will be their third and final round.

By far the star man on a windy Yas Links course in Abu Dhabi was Ahmed who had every right to look pleased with a 73, some 14 shots better than the previous day's 87.

Abdulla, his older brother, followed his 82 with an improved 78 and the pair have scores of 160 after two rounds, one better that Yousuf.

Abdulla hit the ball well from tee to green as he dealt superbly with the tricky conditions. Chris Vallender, the UAE coach, reckoned it was a two-and-half-club wind out on the links. It was even strong enough to blow over the fencing which surrounds the practice putting green.

It was also an encouraging day for Saif Thabet whose 82 put him on 168, which makes him favourite to become the fourth man in the team.

However, Dubai-based Sohail al Marzuki shot 88 in what was his first of three rounds yesterday. A score of around 80 today would give him genuine hope of making the cut for the team. Faisal, his 16-year-old brother, got around in 96.

Further down the leaderboard was Nabil Ismail whose 92 put him on 179 while Faris al Mazrui got a second 90 which leaves him on 180.