Sharjah Senior Golf Masters

Wiratchant joins Dennis atop Sharjah leaderboard as course record 64 fires Fowler into the mix

Thaworn Wiratchant in action during the second round of the Sharjah Senior Masters. Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images.

By Kent Gray
Clark Dennis has company atop the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters leaderboard in Thaworn Wiratchant while decorated Australian Peter Fowler went crazy low on Friday to cling onto their coattails heading into the final round of the Staysure Tour season-opener.

The trio are grouped together in the final threesome of what shapes as an absorbing Saturday shootout at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club. They’re off at 12.55pm with South African James Kingston, at -7 after second round 68, looking the only other player capable of challenging the frontrunners at the $425,000 event.

Wiratchant made the decisive early move on moving day, a bogey-free 65 allowing the Thai to set the early clubhouse target at -11.

Reigning Staysure Tour order of merit champion and overnight leader Dennis joined him after  overcoming a bogey start to sign for a 68 while Fowler eagled the par-5 15th (with a chip-in) for the second successive day en-route to an eight-under 64, the new SGSC course record.

Fowler is on -9 and must be ruing his double-bogey finish in an opening 71. Still, the 58-year-old has the pedigree – five Staysure Tour titles – to ensure Dennis and Wiratchant will sweat on their lead.

“I was a long way behind after some good scores this morning, and Clark was pretty hot as well. I had to put something good together today, which I did, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” said Fowler.

Texan Dennis, 52, won twice last season but Wiratchant won more recently at the season ending MBC Tour Championship in Mauritius last December.

“My round today was great because I seemed to have control with all my shots,” said Wiranchat afterwards.

Clark Dennis.
Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images.

“I love it here in Sharjah because the weather is hot like Thailand and the course is in exceptional condition. It was easier today because there was less wind and the pin position was better. I came here with no expectations so to be joint-leader going into the final round, I’m very happy.”

Dennis rattled off three birdies in his next five holes after the bogey start and then traded a bogey on the 9th with three further birdies.

“I played some good golf again today but it was definitely more of a struggle than yesterday,” said the former PGA Tour player.

“I didn’t quite have the ‘A’ game but I still managed to hit some good shots on the back nine which gave me a couple of birdies so I’m really glad that I got to 11 under par heading into the final day. Tomorrow is a new day and everyone is going to be looking for those birdies.

“I don’t think that anyone will be trying to protect anything so it should be a low scoring day. Hopefully I can come out tomorrow and execute my game plan and make a few putts.”

Spaniard Martin Miguel Angel and Englishman Philip Golding, meanwhile, complete the top five on six under par after rounds of 70 of 68.

Amateur players Steven Kelbrick and Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club’s Amir Al Naimi carded rounds of 76 and 78 respectively as they once again battled with some of the biggest names of the past. Dubai-based Brit Kelbrick goes into the final round on seven over par with Iranii Al Naimi on eight over.

 

Kent Gray

Editor of Golf Digest Middle East. Has written about golf since 1989 and owned a suspect short game even longer.

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