Dubai's Grenville-Wood edges ahead at Abu Dhabi Challenge

Grenville-Wood is yet to register a bogey this week, carded seven birdies on day two to reach 14 under par

By Team KT

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Joshua Grenville-Wood. — Supplied photo
Joshua Grenville-Wood. — Supplied photo

Published: Fri 28 Apr 2023, 11:53 PM

Dubai resident Joshua Grenville-Wood posted a second consecutive seven under par round of 65 to take a one shot lead into the weekend of the Abu Dhabi Challenge, while local golf coach Louis Gaughan made the cut on his Challenge Tour debut.

Grenville-Wood, who is yet to register a bogey this week, carded seven birdies on day two to reach 14 under par and move one ahead of overnight leader Tom Lewis, who sits second on 13 under par after he carded a five under par round of 65.

The Englishman, who received an invitation for the event from the Emirates Golf Federation (EGF), is feeling confident heading into the third round as he looks to build on an impressive start in Abu Dhabi.

“I’m buzzing with my round today,” he said. “A few weeks ago, I didn’t even know if I would be in the event so the last two days have given me a big boost in confidence. To come out here and play this well, I’m over the moon.

“I have made it two rounds without a bogey, and I put that down to my ball striking. I’ve only missed three greens in two days and the greens I have missed I’ve left the ball in the right place and managed to get up and down to save par.”

The 25-year-old moved to the UAE in 2019 and he admits being used to the warm weather conditions has helped him over the opening 36 holes, with temperatures set to reach 40 degrees by Sunday.

“I think living here is an advantage,” he said. “The heat isn’t bothering me this week and for me it’s a nice temperature to play in. I’m not feeling tired towards the end of the round so I think that has played an important factor so far and I know I can finish strong out here.

“I know the grasses well around here and I also know how to play out of the bunkers. I’m able to hit it pretty far and the further you hit it round here the wider the fairways become.”

South African duo Wilco Nienaber and Brandon Stone, and Frenchman Julien Sale share third place on ten under par, while Spaniard Ivan Cantero Gutierrez and France’s Julien Sale are a shot further back in sixth.

2023 Junior Ryder Cup Captain Stephen Gallacher posted a five under par round of 67 to move into seventh on eight under par, while Swede Adam Blommé and Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia occupy eighth on seven under.

Meanwhile, Gaughan, who secured his invite from the EGF after winning the Emirates PGA Championship last week, was sitting pretty on two under par for this round, and the tournament, as he teed off on the 18th hole.

But after losing his ball with an errant tee shot, the Scotsman went on to card a double bogey to tumble down the leaderboard, leaving him with an agonizing two-hour wait to find out if he would be playing the weekend.

With the leaderboard chopping and changing right until the very end, the Dubai resident finished inside the top 60 and ties, making the cut right on the number at level par.

“I felt fine on the 18th, but hit a bit of weird shot,” said Gaughan after walking off the 18th with the feeling he had ended his chances of making the cut.

“It’s been really good out here the last two days, I’d like to thank the EGF and the Emirates PGA for getting me an invite. We’ll see what happens with the cut line, I’d love to play the weekend.

“I feel like I’ve played great and a lot better than I’ve scored, so I think if I were to make the cut it would free me up a little bit and allow me to have a really good weekend.”

The back-to-back events in Abu Dhabi have been made possible due to the long-term partnership between the European Tour group and the Emirates Golf Federation, in addition to the support of the host venues Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, along with sponsors ARENA, Phoenix Capital and Al Laith.

The third round of the Abu Dhabi Challenge gets underway at 6:45am local time, with Grenville-Wood teeing it up in the final group at 8:45am.

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