Joe Jones shot a first-round four under par 68 to lead the second edition of the Robert Rock Abu Dhabi Championship over the National Course at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

The Welsh player has a four-shot lead over Dominic Morton (Trump International) who shot a level par 72, Morton came home in an impressive 33, finishing with an eagle two on hole 14 and two birdies in his final four holes.

The 54-hole tournament, a WAGR qualifier, supported by the Emirates Golf Federation, is open to boys under the age of 21 and girls under the age of 18 on the day of the first round and has attracted 37 entries, with half the field from overseas.

Left-handed Joes, 19, plays off a +5.9 handicap and had an injury impacted the 2023 season with both back and ankle injuries meaning that he played virtually no competitive golf all season.

Jones won the Abu Dhabi Golf Club Men’s Open in March last year over the same course with rounds of 72, 70 and 68, for a six under-par total of 210, which qualified him for the Challenge Tour event at Saadiyat Beach, Abu Dhabi.

His most recent event since injury was the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters on the DP World Tour in October last year – where he qualified by winning the 37th edition of the Qatar Open.

Jones said on finishing his round: “I hit the ball nicely today, and played solid, hit a lot of greens. Missed a few putts, holed a few and was overall very happy with my game even when it got windy out there.

“I even lost a ball on hole16 where I tried to cut off the corner of the dog leg too much from our front tees. I hit it in the penalty area, but still made a bogey.”

The Boy’s Under 14 Division is led by Alexander Rushika (JGE) with a level par 72, with an impressive two birdie – two bogey round that gives him an eight-shot lead from two players going into the second round.

The Girl’s Division is led by Lavanya Gupta (DLF G&CC, India) with a three under par 69, three shots ahead of Hannah Alan (EGF).

There are three Divisions in the tournament, Under 21 Boys, Under 14 Boys and Under 18 Girls.

The second-round tee times are the same as those allocated for day one. The final round will see the leaders out last in Divisional gross order.

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Round One Scores

Boys Under 21

Jones (Wales) 68.

Morton (Trump International GC) 72.

Meggitt (Eng) 73.

Boys Under 14

Rushika (Jumeirah Golf Estates) 72.

Girls Under 18

Gupta (DLF G&CC, India) 69.

C. Alan (EGF) 72.

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