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Nienaber sets course record to share lead in Al Ain

Nienaber sets course record to share lead in Al Ain

Wilco Nienaber fired a sensational ten under par second round of 60 to set a new course record and move into a share of the lead alongside Dane Nicolai Kristensen heading into the weekend of the Abu Dhabi Challenge.

Wilco Nienaber - Abu Dhabi Challenge

Nienaber got off to a hot start at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club with a birdie on the second before making four more gains between holes four and seven to finish his front nine in 30 strokes. He would match that effort on the back with birdies at 11, 13, and each of his final three holes to move to 13 under par alongside Kristensen.

“Today was great”, said Nienaber. “It felt pretty straightforward, I played well and I made putts. I did miss a few ones as well, but I’m very happy with the ones I did make.

Nienaber was delighted to set a new course record at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club, and at one point had his sights set on a round of 59 before narrowly missing a long eagle putt on the 18th.

“59 was on my mind”, he said. “When I went five under quite early, I thought this can be quite low today, but then I made a few pars around the turn and thought 59 is kind of out of it.

“For some reason, when I made birdie on 16, I realised it’s a par 70 and a birdie-eagle finish gets me 59.

“If I’d clicked it a little earlier, I don’t know if it was going to be very different, so I’m very happy with my ten under.”

Co-leader Kristensen birdied four of his last five holes to maintain his position at the top of the leaderboard for the second day in a row.

“I didn’t make the best start with a bogey at the second, but I made a few good pars after, started playing well, and played flawless on the back nine, which was quite nice.

“I like this course”, the Dane added. “I think it suits me well off the tee and around the greens, so I’m excited for the weekend”.

Englishman John Parry, Scot Euan Walker and South African Oliver Bekker share third place at 12 under par, while England’s Garrick Porteous is one of three players a further shot back in a tie for sixth, after he carded four birdies and a pair of eagles on his back nine.

The third round of the Abu Dhabi Challenge gets under way at 7:30am local time, with Nienaber and Kristensen teeing off at 9:30am alongside Bekker.

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