Switzerland’s Marco Iten made an immediate impact on his debut outing on the MENA Tour as two eagles on the back nine saw him soar to the top of the leaderboard after the opening round of the Ras Al Khaimah Open by Arena at Tower Links Golf Club.
The 29-year-old from Zurich is playing on a special exemption as he tries to get some match sharpness ahead of the second stage of European Tour Qualifying School next week and he made the most of the opportunity, with a hot start followed by a back nine of 30 as he signed for a 64.
“It was a good day. I got off to a fast start and managed to carry that momentum on to the back nine. I was able to hit both the par-5s in two and make my putts,” said Iten, who lost his card on the European Challenge Tour this year. “It definitely is a great confidence booster ahead of the second stage of the Q School next week.”
One shot behind with a 65 were Sweden’s Niclas Weiland and Scotland’s Scott Henry, who were playing partners in the second group of the morning, and they were later joined by England’s Joshua Grenville-Wood, who holed out from 139 yards to eagle the par-4 15th.
Australia’s Daniel Gaunt, who is looking to make a big move this week in the Journey To Jordan rankings as he is currently second behind leader MG Keyser of South Africa, opened with a five-under par 67 while Josh Hill, who created worldwide headlines last week by becoming the youngest winner of an Official World Golf Ranking event, struggled on the greens and signed for a 78 after missing more than half a dozen par putts from inside eight feet.