Teenager Berry leads by two at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club's UAE Challenge

Debutant and |Dubai amateur Oscar Craig makes the cut on a tough day dominated by warm winds

By Nick Tarratt, Khaleej Times Guest Golf Writer

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n: Joshua Berry (Eng) leader by two shots in the Challenge Tour event at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. - Supplied photo
n: Joshua Berry (Eng) leader by two shots in the Challenge Tour event at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. - Supplied photo

Published: Sat 27 Apr 2024, 1:16 AM

English teenager Joshua Berry shot a second-round 68 for a 36-hole total of 11 under par 133, to lead the $300,000 UAE Challenge at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi.

It was a tougher day for scoring than round one with the warm wind-up earlier in the day.

After starting the day with a share of the lead, Berry had a flawless front nine of 31 with five birdies. He then birdied 10 and 11 and finished double–par – bogey to take a two-shot lead into the weekend.

Eighteen-year-old Berry earned his DP World Tour card at last year’s Qualifying School. He has dual card status on both the DP World Tour and Challenge Tour.

Oscar Craig with his stepdad, Tommy Fleetwood. - X
Oscar Craig with his stepdad, Tommy Fleetwood. - X

His best finish on the DP World Tour has been tied for 23rd at the Magical Kenya Open at the start of 2024.

Hamish Brown (Den) and Wilco Nienaber (RSA) are tied second with rounds of 66 and 70 respectively on nine under par, Brown’s round equaling the best score of the day.

In fourth place is Alex Levy (Fr) after two rounds of 68, and currently stands second in the Race to Mallorca Order of Merit Rankings.

Dubai’s 17-year-old Oscar Craig, the stepson of professional golfer Tommy Fleetwood, followed up his first-round 69 with a one-over par 73 to make the cut. He is tied 42nd place.

Craig said on completing his round: “I’m feeling really relieved, but really, really happy. At the start of the week, I wanted to make the cut – but I wanted to make sure that I tried my best on every single shot that I hit.

"I enjoyed the experience as well. It’s the first time I’ve played on the Challenge Tour or in any professional event.

“Over the last few holes, my emotions were all over the place and I was pretty nervous. Coming down the last I realized I needed to make par to be safe – and I was just like – ‘let’s do it.’ I ended up making a birdie and was so happy," he added.

Caddie Tommy Fleetwoods said: “Oscar did his job out there today. I’m very proud of him.”

Craig received an EGF invite to play having won the Al Hamra Golf Club Men’s Amateur Open on the 2023 – 24 EGF Men’s Order of Merit.

Garrick Porteous (Eng), who represents Trump International Golf Club, Dubai, and won on the Challenge Tour last week in Al Ain, had a mixed bag level par 72, with four birdies, two bogeys and a double to go along with his opening 69 to be in tied 32nd.

The cut fell at 143, one under par with 63 players playing the last 36 holes.

Also making the cut was Dubai Golden Visa Awardee Joel Stalter (Fr) with 71 – 71 and former Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship winner Gary Stal (Fr) with 70 – 71.

The third round tees off tomorrow (Saturday) with tee times from 7.30 am and the leaders out last at 9.30 am.

The tournament is sanctioned by the EGF, partnered by Abu Dhabi Sports Council and sponsored by ARENA, Phoenix Capital and Al Laith. For further information Visit: www.europeantour.com

Leading Round Two Scores

(7,681 Yards, Par 72).

Berry (Eng) 65. 68. 133.

Nienaber (RSA) 65. 70. 135.

Brown (Den) 69. 66. 135.

Levy (Fr) 68. 68. 136.

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