Hendry takes a two-shot lead

DUBAI – Daniel Hendry carded a solid two-under-par 70 to seize the early advantage in the Shaikh Rashid Trophy, organised by the Emirates Golf Federation, on Thursday.

The young prodigy, who plays off a plus two handicap, mixed three birdies with a lone bogey to establish a two-shot lead over Dino Varkey at the end of the first round played at the Arabian Ranches Golf Club.

Defending champion Michael Harradine, Emirates Golf Federation Order of Merit winner Miki Mirza and Greig Marchbank were further one shot off the pace at one-over-par 73 on a bright sunny day when most of players struggled to hole their putts. Faris Al Mazroui shot a 76 (net 71), the best score by a UAE national, as tournament favourites Ahmed Al Musharrekh (77) and Khalid Yousuf (80) were left ruing shots that got away. “It wasn’t a good day at work. I struck the ball well, but missed many makeable putts and that didn’t help,” said Ahmed, a plus three handicapper.

Sponsored by Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa, the flagship event of the Emirates Golf Federation saw 85 players line up for honours in the first round. The second and the penultimate round will be played on Friday. The day belonged to Hendry, the only player to break par in the first round. “I think I played pretty solid golf. The key was to keep the ball in play and avoid going to the sand which I managed to do that,” he said.

Leading scores after the first round:

70 – Daniel Hendry, 72 – Dino Varkey, 73 – Miki Mirza, Michael Harradine, Greig Marchbank, 74 - Callum Mills, Gary Swan, John Mills, 75 – Craig Forrest, Paul King, 76 - Nathan Fisher, Faris Al Mazroui, James Sayer, 77 – Ahmed Al Musharrekh, Sami Al Hajri, Jonathan Jeffrey, Steve Bennett, Brian McCarthy, Ross Hopwood

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