AQABA (Jordan): MENA Tour by Arena debutant David Langley took a one-shot lead into the final round of the $75,000 Journey to Jordan #1, the opening event of the 2020 season, with a battling four-under par 68 at Ayla Golf Club on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old from Marlow, England, who turned pro late last year, made six birdies against two bogeys to add to his overnight one-under par 71 and move to five-under 139 for the tournament.
Shergo Al Kurdi, Jordan’s 16-year-old amateur, missed a chance to open a big lead on top of the leaderboard when he dropped four shots coming in after being six-under par for the day through 10 holes. The teenager, an ambassador of Ayla Golf Club, was still in contention and just one shot behind his playing partner and leader Langley after a two-under par 70.
Joining Al Kurdi in tied second place at four-under par were four other new MENA Tour members - Ryan Lumsden of Scotland, who shot the best round of the tournament, a seven-under par 65; Per Langfors (69) and Calle Strandberg (68) of Sweden and England’s Tom Sloman (67).
“I have been playing solid these last couple of weeks, so it is good to come in with a decent score. Still felt like I left a few out there, but I also had a couple of good up-and-down for pars,” said Langley.
“The bogeys were on the 18th, which is a tough hole anyways and my ball took an unlucky bounce and went into the water and on the fourth, where I wanted to drive the green and hit a horrible tee shot.
“I am not going to approach tomorrow any differently. As I said, I had a few close misses the last two days, so I am probably in the better side of some luck coming my way. I feel very comfortable on this golf course, so we will see.”
Al Kurdi, a two-time Jordan Open champion at Ayla Golf Club, seemed to be cruising after making an eagle on his 10th hole – the first of the golf course – before the double that derailed him a bit.
“That finish hurt. I was six-under par through 10, and that too with a three-putt bogey. It was a flying start, but I lost a bit of my energy and I did not putt well enough. No excuses though…at least I managed to hold it together and give myself a chance tomorrow,” said Al Kurdi.
“The birdies were coming along easily early in the round and I was calm and patient. And then I started trying a bit too hard after making a double bogey on the fourth hole. I think that would be the key for tomorrow, trying not to force the issue.”
Lumsden, an alumni of Northwestern University in Chaicago who qualified and played the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock, said he was motivated by a terrible finish in the opening round. One-under par through 16 holes in windy conditions on Monday, the 22-year-old Scotsman made a triple bogey eight on the par-5 17th and a bogey on the 18th.
“The finish yesterday really frustrated me, but it also fired me up to come out and play well today. I was very happy with the way I played. I was pretty good with my wedges and hit a few to tap-in distances,” said Lumsden.
Italian veteran Alessandro Tadini (68) and Welsh youngster Gaelen Trew (70) were tied for seventh place at two-under par. Overnight joint leader, Scotland’s Sam Locke (73), slipped to tied ninth place at one-under par alongside England’s Joshua Grenville-Wood (69) and Pavan Sagoo (71).