Munir grabs one-stroke lead

Mohammed Munir put himself in with a great chance of winning back-to-back events on the Mena Golf Tour after he established a crucial one-shot lead going into the final round of the Shaikh Maktoum Dubai Open at Al Badia Golf Club on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old Pakistani produced a flawless 66, highlighted by an eagle on the 18th, in the second round to go nine under for the tournament, one ahead of Wales’ Stephen Dodd and Germany’s Sebastian Heisele, and two off England’s Martin LeMesurier.

The Scottish duo of Ross Bain and Tom Buchanan and England’s William Harrold were a further shot back on six under, raising the prospects of a close finish to the fifth and penultimate event on this year’s Mena Tour.

Munir, the winner of last week’s Ras Al Khaimah Classic, sounded confident of going the full distance this time around as well.

Should that happen, the victory will be third in a row for a Pakistan golfer after Shafiq Masih set the ball rolling with a dramatic playoff win in the American Express Dirab Golf Championship.

“My game is in great shape and the rhythm is there. I can’t see any perceptible flaw in my game. You never know what will happen in golf, but I am feeling pretty relaxed going into the final,” said Munir, who will be paired with Dodd in the final grouping. “Playing with Stephen will be a great experience and may bring the best out of me. I am really looking forward to the challenge,” said Munir, who turned pro in 1994.

Wales’ Dodd attributed his back-to-back 68 to his short game. “I think I have played very steady in the first two round. My short game is working well which is good.

“I have the experience of playing in the last group and, hopefully, I will be able to handle the pressure,” said Dodd, a three-time winner on the European Tour.

Overnight leader Fredrik Quicker, who shot a course-record equalling 64 on Monday, admitted to playing “really bad golf” after he stuttered and stumbled to a head-scratching 77.

“I three putted the opening hole and that kind of blew my confidence. I did play the last seven holes one under, but the damage has already been done,” said Quicker, who dropped four shots on his first four holes. “Tomorrow is another day, let’s see what happens.”

Meanwhile, the cut for the tournament fell at four-over-par 148. Pakistan’s number two Matloob Ahmed (five over), Scotland’s Steven Munro (13 over) and UAE’s Ahmed Al Musharekh (14 over) were among the notables who missed out on playing in the final round.

Leading second round scores

> 135 – Mohammed Munir (Pakistan) 69 66

> 136 - Sebastian Heisele (Germany) 67 69; Stephen Dodd (Wales) 68 68

> 137 - Martin LeMesurier (England) 70 67

> 138 - William Harold (England) 69 69; Ross Bain (Scotland) 71 67; Tom Buchanan (Scotland) 66 72

> 139 - Yasin Ali (England) 70 69; Zane Scotland (England) 68 71; James Housby (England) 69 70

> 140 - Ian Keenan (England) 72 68; Manish Goyal (India) 69 71

> 141 - Cennydd Mills (Wales) 70 71; Max Williams (AM-England) 72 69; Fredrik Quicker (Sweden) 64 77; Lindsay Renolds (Canada) 70 71

> 142 - Callum Nicoll (Scotland) 69 73; Craig Smith (Wales) 71 71; Nacer Makroune (Morocco) 71 71; Mitchell Slorach (Singapore) 71 71.

> 143 - Alex Christie (England) 70 73

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