AQABA (Jordan): Ryan Lumsden has been knocking on the door ever so often in his debut season on the MENA Tour by Arena and he is hoping to break through tomorrow after taking a vital two-shot lead on an extremely windy second round of the $75,000 Journey to Jordan #2.
On Tuesday at the Greg Norman-designed Ayla Golf Club, the London-based Scotsman shot a superb bogey-free three-under par 69 to take his two-day tally to six-under par 138, two clear of England’s Tom Sloman (70) and Benjamin David (71).
Curtis Knipes, playing in his first season as a professional, stayed in contention after an even-par 72 round which tied him for the fourth place at three-under par alongside American Ben Schlottman (68), MENA Tour veteran Luke Joy (70) and the Swedish pair of Filip Lundell (70) and Ake Nilsson (71).
Overnight leader Mitch Waite started in sensational fashion by making an eagle on the par-4 10th hole after driving the green, but four subsequent bogeys dropped him to solo ninth place at two-under par.
The cut was applied at nine-over par with 49 professionals and one amateur (India’s Arjun Gupta) proceeding to the final round.
The race for the Trophee Hassan II start on the European Tour was still on between David Langley and David Hague. Langley made the cut on the number, while Hague was tied 34th and would need to finish inside the top-10 depending on his rival’s finish.
Lumsden, who qualified for the 2018 US Open and will be playing the Byron Nelson Classic on the PGA Tour this year after winning the Byron Nelson award while representing the Northwestern University in 2019, was pleased with the way he handled himself on a difficult day.
“It was a little windier and touch trickier than yesterday, but I played solid. It was all about missing it in the right places and hitting smart shots. I kept the ball out of the wind pretty nicely,” said Lumsden, who started with a birdie on the par-4 10th, then made an up-and-down on the par-5 17th before making his final birdie of the day on the third hole where he wedged it to tap-in distance.
“I just hit one bad shot today, on the par-4 seventh hole, and it did not get into the water and stayed on the edge. But the game was pretty consistent, and my lag putting was good.”
Lumsden was relishing the chance to test himself again in a final round after recent near-misses.
He played the last two holes to one-over and lost in the play-off in the Qualifying School here in January. In the Journey to Jordan #1, he was one shot off the lead and had a poor final round. Last week in Bahrain, Lumsden was two-over for the last four holes to lose by two.
“I have been learning from those mistakes and trying to figure out how I can play the golf I have been playing when I am down the stretch and get over that hump and get my first win on the MENA Tour,” said the 23-year-old, who earned his first Official World Golf Ranking points in Bahrain.
“I have been thinking about it lately. I did a much better job in Bahrain last week. My mistakes weren’t really mental out there, just a couple of good shots ending up in positions where I did not think they would. I just need to stick to the process of hitting one good shot after another.
“It’s really going to be a case of staying in the moment and not letting my head get in the way and thinking ahead. I just see it as another opportunity to figure out my stuff coming down the stretch and I see it only helping me down the line.”
Sloman, who has been a picture of consistency in his debut season on the MENA Tour, was two-over par after eight holes, but pulled it back with four birdies coming in, including two in his last two holes, the eighth and ninth of the golf course.
David, playing in the same group as Sloman, was one-over at the turn and replicated his playing partner’s scores on the closing two holes to add a 71 to his overnight 69.