Joshua Grenville-Wood (UAE) shot a six under par 64 to lie one shot back of the leaders in tied fifth after the first round of the 72-hole $300,000 Abu Dhabi Challenge at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club.

The 26-year old, who lives in Dubai and currently stands 20th on the Challenge Tour’s Race to Mallorca Order of Merit Rankings started on hole 10 and had a one birdie – one bogey first nine to be out in 35 – with no sign of what was to come.

He came back strongly in just 29 shots, with five birdies in a row from hole 3 and a birdie on the 9th hole to complete his round.

“I got off to a pretty slow start – and stayed patient,” said Grenville-Wood said on completing his round. “I sort of got things going on my back nine – I could not miss.

“The golf course is fantastic, the greens are so good and have held their firmness – the work the greenkeepers did yesterday after all the rain, especially repairing the bunkers, has been exceptional.

“With an early start for the second round on Friday with hopefully less wind – I hope to continue to play some good golf.”

Leading the field in a four-way tie on 63 are Bradley Bawden (Eng), John Parry (Eng), Nicolai Kristensen (Den) and Sebastian Friedrichsen (Den).

UAE amateur, 17 year-old Rayan Ahmed, is an EGF invite for this week.

He had a fine score with a four under par 66, over the same golf course in Al Ain, where, last week he finished tied third in the Boy’s Under 18 Division in the JAGA International Series. On that occasion Rayan shot rounds of 69, 63 and 69, for a nine under par total.

On a day of strong scoring, 95 players broke par on the opening day.

Other players with local UAE connections included: Garrick Porteous (Eng) on 68, as well as Gary Stal (Fr), Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) and Joel Stalter (Fr) all on 67.

First Round Scores

(7,117 Yards, Par 70)

B. Bawden (Eng) 63.

J. Parry (Eng) 63.

N. Kristensen (Den) 63.

S. Friedrichsen (Den) 63.

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