Andrew Marshall returned another bogey-free round to take a two-shot lead after the second and penultimate round of the Mena Golf Tour’s Sheikh Maktoum Dubai Open at Al Badia Golf Club on Tuesday.
Playing solid from tee to green, the European Tour veteran backed up his opening 68 with a 67 to reach nine under for the tournament, taking a big stride towards clinching his second title in his debut season on the Mena Tour.
More from the Sheikh Maktoum Dubai Open:
• Round 1: Fredrik Lindblom holds one-shot lead after opening round
In-form Rayhan Thomas, who won the Dubai Creek Open last week, kept himself firmly in the frame for back-to-back titles, returning an impressive 68 to occupy solo second on seven under, one ahead of defending champion Per Barth.
Barth matched the day’s low score, a 67, to haul himself back into contention, going into the final round as a three-man group which included Morocco’s Younes El Hassani, Hamza Amin of Pakistan and England’s Joshua White shared fourth on five-under.
White, who flew into Dubai straight from Ireland after competing in a Challenge Tour event where he finished in a tie for 33rd, made the turn at two over, but kept it clean on the back nine, rolling in three birdies.
It was Marshall, who boasts a first, tied-second and tied-seventh in the only three events he has played on the Mena Tour, held the centre-stage with another flawless round.
“I hit the ball straight and holed some nice putts. Overall, played some good golf,” said the 42-year-old Englishman, who survived some anxious moments at the sixth hole when he drove into the water, but managed to save par, thanks to a 25-foot long putt.
“The thinking is the same going to the final round: focus on hitting fairways and greens as much possible and see what happens. The good thing is that I am feeling quite good about my golf.”
India’s Thomas could have joined Marshall atop the leaderboard, but double-bogeyed the 17th after driving into the water.
“I am looking forward to the final round. I feel no pressure and will try to focus on shot by shot,” said the 16-year-old Dubai-based amateur.
Overnight leader Fredrik Lindblom of Sweden carded a 73 to slip into a tie for seventh on four under while the English duo of Zane Scotland and Danny Poulter shared 35th on four-over par.
The cut was made at five-over 149 with 45 professionals and 10 amateurs making it to the final round.
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