Shadbolt in pole position of Stage A of Qualifying School

February 01, 2019
Heading the pack: England's Tom Shadbolt has a one-shot lead over the field heading into the final day of the Q School Stage A

England’s Tom Shadbolt moved into the pole position going into the third and final round of the A Stage of MENA Tour by Arena Q School at the Ayla Golf Club.

With rounds of 68 and 69, Shadbolt, a member of the Alps Tour, leads by one shot over compatriot Alastair Kinnaird (70, 68) and Spain’s Lucas Vacarisas (65, 73).

At the end of the 54-hole qualifier, the top 30 players and ties – including amateurs will earn cards to take part in the 10-tournament ‘Journey to Jordan’.

Sweden’s Gustaf Kocken shot the low round of the day – a five-under par 67 – and moved to sole fourth place at four-under par 140, with three players, including amateur Curtis Knipes, tied fifth at three-under par 141.

Shadbolt, who finished runner-up in the Open la Pinetina and was tied fifth in the Grand Final of the Alps Tour last year, closed with a bogey, but six birdies in the round ensured a tidy return of 69.

“It feels good to be leading going into the final day,” said the 31-year-old Shadbolt.

“I didn’t play my best stuff today but don’t feel like it's too far away. Hopefully, I can build on a strong start and go on to win it tomorrow. That would be a great way to start the year.”

Knipes was one of four amateurs inside the top-10, a group that also included three other Englishmen – Jack Floyd (T8, 143), Ben Davies and Alex Talbot (both T10, 145).

“I felt good today. Obviously, I’ve not been able to play a lot of golf over winter so I had a week’s practice in Dubai and it’s put me in a good position to play some good golf since I’ve arrived in Jordan,” said Knipes, who finished ninth in last year’s Boys Amateur Championship.

The top 42-players plus ties made the 36-hole cut which fell at +8.

The first tournament of the MENA Tour by Arena will also be played at the Ayla Golf Club from February 8-11 after Stage B of the Qualifying School.