Thursday, 24 January 2019
Callum Shinkwin (third from left), Victor Riu and Marc Warren after qualifying for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic  (Getty Images)
Callum Shinkwin (third from left), Victor Riu and Marc Warren after qualifying for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic (Getty Images)

Callum Shinkwin grabbed his opportunity with both hands on day one of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, firing an opening 66 on Thursday afternoon, having qualified for the event earlier in the week.

The 25 year old secured one of three available spots in the field after winning a 36-hole shootout, with Frenchman Victor Riu and Scot Marc Warren also finishing in the top three.

And the Englishman made the most of his chance as he carded an eagle, five birdies and a single bogey to finish the day a single stroke behind Matthew Fitzpatrick.

If Shinkwin was tired after finishing in a tie for 54th at last week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA - another event he had to qualify for - and playing another two rounds to get into this week, he did not show it.

Starting from the tenth tee, Shinkwin notched birdies at the 13th and 16th before pitching in for a wonderful eagle at the 17th.

He closed his front nine with a birdie at the 18th to reach the turn in 32, but after taking advantage of the long third to join the early clubhouse leaders on six under, he dropped his only shot of the day at the fourth.

But after sending his approach at the ninth to within six feet, he knocked in his birdie putt to sign for a 66.

Shinkwin said experiencing the winning feeling was a big boost - even if it was just a qualifier.

"Playing six, seven days on the trot is hard on the body and the mind," he said. "But yeah, winning also helps anyone. 

"If you win, you feel more comfortable straight away. Even if it's just a qualifier, it feels great.

"The game feels great. It's felt great for the last two or three months and now I'm finally showing what I can do.

"I had to qualify for both events (in Abu Dhabi and Dubai) and I won both qualifiers, so the game feels good and I feel like I should be here, which is a good thing."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
2WALLACE, MattENG18-17
T3WARING, PaulENG18-16
T3GARCIA, SergioESP18-16
T3QUIROS, AlvaroESP18-16

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