AL AIN, October 22: England’s Harry Ellis continued to dominate the Al Ain Open by Arena with a second successive round of 64 on day two at Al Ain Equestrian Shooting and Golf Club, while Egypt’s Issa Abou El Ela proved once again that the apple never falls far from the tree.
Ellis, who finished tied second in the Abu Dhabi Open by Arena, was bogey-free for a second consecutive day and moved to 12-under par 128 with his two 64s. The 24-year-old from Southampton is now two strokes ahead of second-placed Jesper Alm of Sweden, who shot his second straight 65.
Both Ellis and Alm are looking for their first-ever title on a recognized Tour.
There was a four-way tie for the third place at nine-under par, a group that included amateurs Josh Hill (66) and Curtis Knipes (64), Sweden’s Gustav Kocken (65), and the surprise package of the tournament – Issa (65).
A member of Madinaty Golf Club in Cairo, Issa made a dream start to his MENA Tour by Arena career with a hole-in-one and a 66 on Monday, and added a 65 in round two. The 24-year-old is the son of Amr Abou El Ela, winner of seven Pan Arab Championships and one of the most respected names in Middle East & North African golf.
Unlike the first round, where Ellis could make just one birdie on the back nine, he made three on either half of the golf course.
“It was important for me to get off to a good start and carry on that momentum from yesterday, and I managed to get an early birdie on the 10th, which was playing very long and into the wind,” said Ellis, who received a message from former world No1 Justin Rose on Twitter after the round.
“I just went back yesterday and reflected the way I played the back nine and did a much better job of it today. I still left a few out there, but it was a bogey-free round. I think this may be the first time I have been bogey-free for 36 holes, so very happy with that accomplishment.”
Alm felt he did not play as well as his 65 yesterday, but a final-hole eagle lifted his score to 65 and set up a great chance for him to pounce up on the leader.
“I am hitting my driver great, and I hope to take advantage of that. On the par-5 18th, I just heeled it a bit, but the drive still went 330 yards and I hit a 4-iron to about 20 feet and made the putt,” said the 27-year-old who grew up at the same golf club in Sweden as his idol Henrik Stenson.
“It was a solid round, but yesterday was better. I hit my irons really well but did not make as many putts. I like the golf course, so I am really looking forward to tomorrow.”
With his father watching, Issa played steady golf with six birdies and a solitary bogey.
“I played just one bad hole and I made a bogey there (on the ninth). Otherwise, it was a slightly boring round with lots of fairways and greens. I am really enjoying my first start on the MENA Tour and I am excited I have a chance tomorrow. I just want to stay positive,” he added.