Amateur Vance in joint lead as Dubai Creek Open tees off

The first-round leaderboard was a riot of colour, with flags from eight countries populating the top 10.

Amine Joudar of Morocco hit 16 greens in regulation and was lying tied second. Courtesy Mena Golf Tour
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DUBAI // Craig Vance has won a series of competitions at area clubs in the four years since he moved from England to the UAE.

However, this is a different matter entirely.

Vance, an amateur from Liverpool, shot an opening 68 to share the lead at the Dubai Creek Open yesterday, on the region’s professional Mena Tour.

He was joined by England’s James Housby and Mena veteran Trevor Marshall of New Zealand at 3 under after the first of three rounds.

Vance, one of only 24 amateurs in the 121-player field, managed six birdies.

The only other amateur to break par was Scotland’s James Steven, who shot a 1-under 70.

Housby was the most consistent of the trio of co-leaders, making only one bogey at the par-71 Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club course and finishing with a birdie on the last hole.

“You have got to be patient out there and wait for your chances,” said Housby, 27.

Amine Joudar of Morocco, Shafiz Masih of Pakistan and Peter Badawy of Lebanon were among a group of seven players who finished one shot off the lead after opening 69s.

The Mena, an entry-level pro tour, has always included a diverse lot among its membership, but the first-round leaderboard was a riot of colour, with flags from eight countries populating the top 10.

Joudar hit 16 greens in regulation. “It’s been a long time since I played like that,” he said. “The fact that I hit 16 greens shows I am on top of my game. You never know what tomorrow holds, but I feel like I’m in good position.”

Maurice Jeffries of the US, Clarke Lutton of Scotland, Conway Kunneke of South Africa and English favourite Lee Corfield also shot 69.

Ahmed Al Musharrekh, the UAE’s first professional player, shot a 1-over 72.

Morocco’s Faycal Serghini, who is leading the Mena money list, skied to a 77.

* with Agency

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