Rayhan Thomas carried his impressive form into the Golf Citizen Classic to claim joint leadership after the opening round at the Els Club Dubai on Monday.
Thomas, 16, won his first Mena Tour event at the Dubai Creek Open at the start of September before finishing tied-ninth at last week's Sheikh Maktoum Open.
The teenager was again in fine form at the Els Club, carding a blemish free five-under par 67 to lead alongside England’s Craig Hinton and Pakistani Shahid Javed.
Thomas and Javed both produced bogey-free rounds, while Hinton bounced back from a bogey on the second to shoot three successive birdies on his way to the top of a tight leaderboard.
The trio hold a one shot lead over five players; Moroccan Ahmed Marjan, Spain’s Carlos Balmaseda, Luke Joy of England, Swede Per Berth, and Scotland’s Daniel Hendry all shooting four-under par 68s.
Meanwhile, defending champion Clarke Lutton is one of three players — along with Brunei’s Wira Salleh and Swiss Alex Messiqua — one shot further back at three-under par.
“I played very solid golf throughout again. I hope I can keep the momentum going. So far so good,” said Thomas, who has finished second, third, first and ninth in his last four events on the Mena Tour.
Hinton, who currently sits 10th in the Mena Tour Order of Merit, is looking for his second title of the season following his triumph at the Johannesburg City Masters in June.
“The course is playing long, but it offers plenty of scoring opportunities as greens are rolling nicely,” Hinton, 28, said. “I’m very happy with the way I played.”
Javed, competing in his first Mena Tour event of the season, said: “The key to going low on this course, which is playing long and tough, depends on how well you drive and how well you read the greens. It feels nice to walk off the course with a good score under your belt.”
Elsewhere, Order of Merit leader Andrew Marshall finished the opening round on one-under par, while Zane Scotland — the Mena Tour’s most successful player with 11 wins — scored level par.
For the complete leaderboard, visit menagolftour.com
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