Scotland's Ker goes 2 clear at Ghala Open.
MUSCAT: Ted Innes Ker rode a flawless front nine to seize the early momentum on the opening day of the MENA Golf Tour's Ghala Open on Monday. The Scotsman made a solid start, going four under after his first seven holes. He bogeyed the 11th but rebounded with two more birdies to end the day a good two shots ahead of a four-man group, which included Morocco's Faycal Serghini, as Karim El Hali, also of Morocco, hit the front along with England's James Allan in the amateur division at two-under. One of the early starters, Serghini mixed four birdies, including three coming home, with two bogeys en route to a three-under 69 where he was joined by Scotland's Clarke Lutton, Stuart Archibald of England and Spain's Sixto Casabona-navarro. England's Lee Corfield, a three-time winner on the MENA Golf Tour, led the six-man chasing pack three shots off the pace as seven players, including Spain's Gabriel Canizares, shared 12th place on one under. "I had a good day with my long game. I hit a lot of fairways and greens in regulation, creating a plenty of scoring opportunities. On front nine, I couldn't capitalize on them, but made most of them coming home," said Serghini, who made the turn at level par. "Overall, it was a good day. Just hope to keep the momentum going all the way through," said the 38-year-old from Casablanca, who, however, has taken an outright lead in the MENA Division, two clear of his compatriot El Hali. England's Archibald was equally pleased with his efforts. "I am hitting the ball great, but didn't make many putts. I was four under on the front nine, but had just one birdie against two bogeys on the back nine. When I putt well, I score well," he said. Lutton played pretty steady golf most of the day. "It feels nice to turn in a good score in the end," said Scotsman, whose round was highlighted by an 'off-the-road' eagle on the par-5, fourth. "I drove the ball just off the road and hit my hybrid from 247 yards to within four feet and made the ensuing putt," said Lutton, the winner of the Golf Citizen Classic at The Els Club earlier this month. El Hali picked up three shots on his last two holes, including an eagle on the 17th, to join Allan atop the amateur division leaderboard at two-under, one clear of England's Elliott Oxlade. Allan, who turned 21 last week, made five birdies and three bogeys, playing the last three holes at two over. "It was quite a mixed round, but very pleased with the way I finished," said the Englishman, who currently leads the Order of Merit standings in his division. Elsewhere, defending champion Zane Scotland returned a 76 after playing outward nine holes at one over to slip well down the leaderboard while Sweden's Christofer Blomstrand, who won the last week's event at Muscat Hills, returned a 75.
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