Eight-hole birdie blitz helps England’s Callum Shinkwin set the pace in Ras Al Khaimah

The Watford talent misses James Nitties' DP World Tour record by one as he matches his lowest score on tour from 2016

By KT Golf

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England's Callum Shinkwin takes a two shot lead into the second round of the Ras Al Khaimah Championship. - Supplied photo
England's Callum Shinkwin takes a two shot lead into the second round of the Ras Al Khaimah Championship. - Supplied photo

Published: Thu 25 Jan 2024, 9:40 PM

Callum Shinkwin shot a stunning eight birdies in a row as he carded a brilliant 62 to take a two-shot lead after round one of the $2.5 million Ras Al Khaimah Championship on the DP World Tour.

The Englishman was already two under when he started his run on the 16th, recording ten birdies in 11 holes to send talk of a 59 rippling around Al Hamra Golf Club.

A bogey on the seventh ended those hopes but he picked the shot straight back up on the next and his ten under par total left him two ahead of countryman Richard Mansell and South African Brandon Stone.

Mansell also got to ten under before making a double-bogey on the eighth, while Stone - back on the DP World Tour after a season on the European Challenge Tour - picked up six shots in his last seven holes in a 64.

Portuguese Ricardo Gouveia, Frenchman Frederic Lacroix and German Freddy Schott were then at seven under.

Shinkwin's birdie run was just one short of James Nitties' DP World Tour record as he matched his lowest score on tour from the 2016 Shenzhen International.

The 30 year-old arrived in Ras Al Khaimah fresh off a tie for 11th at the HERO Dubai Desert Classic and now has a third DP World Tour title firmly in his sights.

“I was a bit gutted about the seventh,” he said. “It's not easy to get a 59 on a par 72 course but I just kept going, making birdie after birdie and didn't really think about 59.

“I wanted to beat (his previous 62) by one because when you have a record you always want to keep beating those records but eight years down the line I've shot a 62 again so I'm happy.

“I shot 63 qualifying for Abu Dhabi (in 2019) when I lost my card and I followed up with a 65... so it can be done. The next day is another day and one shot at a time,” he added.

Starting on the tenth, Shinkwin left himself a tap-in on the 13th and made the most of the par-five 14th before hitting his electrifying spell.

He holed from off the green at the 16th and 17th before getting up and down from the sand on the par-five next to turn in 31.

An approach to inside six feet was followed by a long putt on the second and he then made a two-putt gain on the par-five third and holed a 25-footer on the fourth.

Excitement was building as he got up and down on the driveable par-four fifth but he bogeyed the par-three seventh after missing the green, regaining the shot with two putts on the par-five next.

Mansell also started on the tenth and he turned in 29, putting irons inside ten feet on the tenth, 11th and 13th before leaving himself just three feet on the 14th and holing a bunker shot on the 18th for a pair of eagles.

A two-putt gain on the third was followed by birdies on the fifth and seventh but he found trouble off the tee and with his drop on the eighth to give two back.

Stone took advantage of the two par fives on the back nine but remained just two under for his round stood on the third tee.

An up-and-down birdie kickstarted his round and he holed from 15 feet on the next before putting irons close on the sixth and seventh.

A 36-foot eagle putt on the eighth then took his par-five tally for the day to five under as he took a share of second.

Gouveia had set the target in the morning, staying bogey-free, while Schott finished birdie-eagle and Lacroix dropped a single shot in his 65.

Dane Rasmus Højgaard, Dutchman Daan Huizing, Kiwi Samuel Jones and South African Zander Lombard were four shots off the lead.

Leading UAE player was 25 year-old professional Joshua Grenville-Wood with a five under par 67 to lie in tied 11th.

Leading First Round Scores

(7,410 Yards, Par 72)

C. Shinkwin (Eng) 62.

R, Mansell (Eng) 64.

B. Stone (RSA) 64.

R. Gouveia (Por) 65.

F. Schott (Ger) 65.

F. Lacroix (Fr) 65

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