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Mathiesen, Salhab share lead on windy day

It was such a challenging round due to windy conditions at the Doha Golf Club that a score of two-over-par 74 emerged as the best show of the day. 

Denmark’s Mikkel Mathiesen achieved that feat to share the lead with Saudi Arabia’s Faisal Salhab after the second round of 36th Qatar Open Golf Amateur Championship, yesterday.          

Mathiesen, who shot 74 in the first round, braved strong winds and also managed to fire a birdie in fourth hole for an aggregate of 148, heading into the final round with a joint one-shot lead. 

Al Salhab – winner of the individual title at the Arab Golf Championship in Cairo last month – hit a four-over-par 76 to match Mathiesen’s total, courtesy to his par score of 72 on the inaugural day.      

Englishman Harvey Byers finished the day with third position after he shot 75 in testing conditions to conclude the penultimate stage with a card of 149.               

Norwegian Magnus Stjarnesund and Saudi Arabia’s Saud Al Sharif were joint fourth after a total of 150.  

After enduring a difficult day, Al Sharif hoped conditions to become calm during the final round today.  

“It was a tough day because of strong winds,” the talented Saudi golfer told reporters yesterday. 

“The first day was calm but today it was a great test for all of us making the competition tough,” he added.   

Al Sharif, meanwhile, praised the Qatar Golf Association for staging the tournament in a befitting manner. 

“It’s difficult for organisers to stage such a tournament in the times of pandemic. But the Qatar Golf Association has done a wonderful job despite many challenges. We have got all facilities, which is helping us to focus on our game only,” he said.   

Speaking on the title race, the Saudi star hoped a Gulf player wins the crown. 

“A title win for a Gulf player will be good for promotion of golf in our region. However, irrespective of the outcome, we are getting great experience by participating in such events,” said Al Sharif.   

Meanwhile, Qatari duo of Ali Al Shahrani and Saleh Ali Al Kaabi also struggled yesterday as they saw a dip in their positions. 

Defending champion Al Shahrani shot 77 for an aggregate of 151 to slip to sixth position. Overnight leader Al Kaabi, who fired a two-under-par 70 in the opening round, returned with a card of 82 in second round and holds seventh position with a total of 152.         

Qatar Open is getting better each year: Al Naimi 

Meanwhile, QGA Board Member Mohammed Faisal Al Naimi has expressed his delight for smooth organisation of the Qatar Open despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The tournament has been exceptional despite the fact that it is being staged in difficult times,” said Al Naimi.    

“The organisers deserve the praise for their hardwork in making this event a success. The competition is also competitive as all golfers are giving a good performance,” he added.  

“Qatar Open is getting better every year. It is considered as one of the best amateur tournaments in the world. It witnesses a large participation of golfers aspiring to become professionals. The Doha Golf Club, which has the best course, has also played important role in tournament’s success over the years.” 

Leading Scorers

Mikkel Mathiesen 74, 74 (148)

Faisal Salhab 72, 76 (148) 

Harvey Byers 74, 75 (149)

Magnus Stjarnesund 74, 76 (150)

Saud Al Sharif 71, 79 (150)

Ali Al Shahrani 74, 77 (151)

Saleh Al Kaabi 70, 82 (152)

Jeff Mathews 75, 78 (153)

Mike Elliott 74, 79 (153) 

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