DUBAI // Shiv Kapur is from the bustling Indian capital of New Delhi, and Pavit Tangkamolprasert is based amid the bright lights of Bangkok, Thailand, but on Friday both men gave reasons to feel at home at the Els Club.
The pair finished the second day of the inaugural Dubai Open with a share of the lead on seven-under.
The Dubai Sports City course is hosting its first professional tournament and the UAE’s first Asian tour event.
It also marks the tour’s season-ending finale, although the Order of Merit has already been secured by David Lipsky.
Kapur, who started his second round with an eagle on the first and racked up five birdies and only one bogey, lives in Dubai with his family.
Pavit, who held the outright lead before a double-bogey on the 16th, said the sloping greens at the Els Club reminded him of his home course at the Amata Spring Country Club near the Thai capital.
Kapur said: “I began by holing my second shot on the first hole, so that’s always a great way to start the day and I just eliminated the mistakes on my card. I made one bogey in two rounds and while I haven’t made a ton of putts or a ton of birdies, when you keep the bogeys off the card, you’re usually going to be there or thereabouts.”
He triumphed in Dubai on the European Challenge Tour at the end of last season. “The last time it was the season-ending event, too, and I won, so fingers crossed I can continue the mojo.”
Pavit, the newly-crowned Asian Development Tour No 1, had finished Thursday’s opening round here joint-second and yesterday added three more birdies before over-hitting the 16th. He finished his round with a birdie and a smile on the 18th to sign off a seven-under-par 137, one ahead of Simon Yates of Scotland, Korean teenager Wang Jeung-hun and Indian pair Arjun Atwal and Gaganjeet Bhullar,
“I’m very happy with my performance,” said Pavit, who won three times on the Asian Development Tour this season. “My game was very solid. I hit good irons, a lot of birdie chances and only one bad hole.
“On 16, I hit my driver into the bunker and had 50 yards to the flag. I then hit the full swing with the ball and it went about 100 yards over everything into the desert.”
Pavit’s compatriot Prom Meesawat arrived in Dubai needing a victory to climb to second on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit and qualify for the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He signed off a four-under-par 68 for tied seventh place alongside Mena Tour No 1 Joshua White and Japan’s Daisuke Kataoka.
Of the 24 Mena Tour invitees who started the inaugural Dubai Open, White is one of 11 who made the cut last night. He will contest the final two days in a 66-player field that includes two Arab players: Moroccan duo Younes El Hassani and amateur Mehdi Saissi.
“I’m not really [surprised], to be honest,” White said of the high number of Mena Tour players to progress. “A lot of the pro tours now are all filled with very good players.
“Even the amateurs that play are very good. As you can tell from here, there’s not that much difference, but it’s really good to see – and a lot of the Arab players doing well too.”
Another Mena Tour player, Chris Cannon, will start today on three-under after hitting four bogeys and two birdies, while Kalem Richardson, Thursday’s leader, had an afternoon to forget as he undid all his good work by signing off five-over.
He will start today at one-under.
The tournament’s highest-profile draw, Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, dropped a double-bogey on his last hole for a safe 71, but Tommy Fleetwood crashed out after shooting four-over. Fleetwood needed to finish in the top 16 to secure a place at next year’s Masters.
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