Dubai resident MG Keyser rode a blistering back nine to set a new course record with a sizzling 10-under 61 as 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke opened with a solid 68 heading into the second round of the MENA Tour’s Dubai Creek Open.
Six birdies and an eagle
The South African lit up the back nine after making the turn at two under, reeling off six birdies and an eagle in a stunning display of golf that saw him open up a three-stroke lead.
His sparkling career-best effort left Clarke’s playing partner Fredrik From of Sweden and England’s Stuart Archibald three adrift in a share of second on a day when a raft of red-figure rounds marked the opening day’s proceedings despite hot and humid conditions.
“I played a good, solid round and didn’t make any stupid mistakes out there,” said Keyser, who eclipsed the previous course record jointly held by Clarke, Lee Westwood and Australia’s Benjamin Eccles by two shots. “Just kind of everything fell together, ball striking, putting. I am really enjoying my golf, especially for the last couple of months. The course is in great condition with greens running so true and so perfect which makes putting a little bit easier.”
Work to do
Elsewhere, defending champion Rayhan Thomas left himself a fair bit work to do after a returning a 70 while England’s Zane Scotland, a two-time winner of the Dubai Creek Open, settled for a 73 as UAE’s Ahmed Almusharrekh carded a three-under 68.
“I was off to a slow start with two bogeys in the first three holes, thanks to a cold putter. Though I played the back nine at two-under, it wasn’t good enough. I need to shoot at least six or seven under to haul myself back into contention,” said the Dubai Creek prodigy, who was paired with Clarke. “It was fun playing with Darren. He is such a great guy. He really hit the ball well, but just couldn’t hole anything,”