Wilco Nienaber shot a stunning second round ten under par 60 for a 36-hole total of 127 for a share of the lead in the $300,000 Abu Dhabi Challenge at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club on the Challenge Tour.

The 24 year-old South African, well known for his long hitting and with one Challenge Tour victory on his golfing CV, was tied with Denmark’s Nicolai Kristensen at the halfway stage.

Nienaber opened with a solid 67 on Thursday but then shot a course record 60, with ten birdies and no bogeys.

On a day ideal for good scoring with little or no wind, Nienaber said: “It was nice out there today – I started well, hit it well and just kept going after a strong finish yesterday.

“I did not realise I was on #59Watch until the last couple of holes as I forgot it was a par 70. The difference from my 67 yesterday was not a lot, but I putted better today.

“In my first round I three putted twice in the middle of the round and made bogeys through a loss of concentration and missed a few others. It was fun out there today,” he added.

“I like it here in the UAE, the golf courses are always good and the greens here at Al Ain are really firm. The weather is always nice – at least apart from Tuesday earlier in the week.”

The 31 year-old Kristensen followed up his first round 63 with an afternoon tee time where he shot 64. In his first two rounds he has had seven birdies in each round and a solitary bogey on hole two today.

Chasing the leaders one shot back are Oliver Bekker (RSA), Euan Walker (Scotland) and John Parry (Eng), number four on the current Challenge Tour Race to Mallorca Rankings, all on 12 under par.

Joshua Grenville-Wood (UAE), shot a 69 for a total of 135 to be in tied 30th.

“I started slowly and did not hit it well – I was three over par after four holes - hit my irons poorly and did not get up and down enough,” he said. “I bounced back on the back nine to make a couple of birdies to break par.

“I am looking forward to the weekend with the course drying out – there is a score out there – I will give it a go.”

Amateur Rayan Ahmed, representing the UAE, shot a disappointing second round 72 after his brilliant round one 66, and narrowly missed the cut which fell at four under par. A field of 74 players make it through to the weekend.

Professional Louis Gaughan, who works at Dubai Hills Golf Club, shot rounds of 70 and 67 to miss the weekend by just one shot.

England’s Garrick Porteous, a Dubai resident aged 31 years-old, and member of Trump International Golf Club, Dubai, is tied sixth on 129.

Scotsman Craig Howie who has regularly wintered at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club over the last decade and represents the club as his attachment, made the cut on the mark with rounds of 70 and 66.

The third round will be held on Saturday with play in threeballs from both the 1st and 10th tees. The leaders are out last at 9.30 am from tee one with Grenville-Wood off tee one at 7.50 am.

Leading Second Round Scores

(7,117 Yards, Par 70)

W. Nienaber (RSA) 67. 60. 127.

N. Kristensen (Den) 63. 64. 127.

E. Walker (Scot) 65. 63. 128.

O. Bekker (RSA) 66. 62. 128.

J. Parry (Eng) 63. 65. 128.

G. Porteous (Eng) 66. 63. 129.

A. Levy (Fr) 65. 64. 129.

J. Walters (RSA) 64. 65. 129.

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