Peter Richardson produced a mixed bag of shots en route to shooting back-to-back 71s on Saturday to keep alive his hopes of posting a decent middle-of-the-pack finish at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.
Richardson, who secured a one-off chance to play on the European Tour by finishing second in the MENA Golf Tour Order of Merit, has moved to four-under for the event after 54 holes, but insisted he has the game and the temperament to finish off in style.
“I am making a lot of birdies which shows I am playing well. But, at the same time, I am dropping unnecessary shots which is not good,” said the 27-year-old from Carlisle in England. “For instance, I made six birdies, including three in a row from the 11th, today and had the chance to eagle the 13th but missed it by a whisker.
“If I can eliminate a few errors in my game, which I think I can, I am sure I will be able to finish strongly. I still have one more round to play and let’s see how things shape up,” said Peterson, who turned professional in 2008 “I think it’s not so much about hitting the shots, it’s adjusting to the new environment, the atmosphere and what is going on around you.
“It’s a different world out there but you just have to concentrate on your game. I feel I can compete with anybody,” said the Englishman, adding: “I think making the cut in my first European Tour was just fantastic. Everything is a bonus now,” said Peterson, who was just 17 and still in the sixth form at Trinity School when he played in the 2001 Open Championship final qualifier at St Annes Old Links.
American Sean McNamara, who also earned the invitation to this tournament by virtue of his third-place finish on the MENA Tour Order of Merit, also shot an identical 71, mixing three birdies with two bogeys to go two under after 54 holes.
“Making the cut was the first priority, and I am just delighted to be able to do that. I am enjoying my golf. Hopefully, I will have another good round under my belt tomorrow,” he said.
Much was expected of Jake Shepherd, but the winner of inaugural MENA Golf Tour Order of Merit title failed to capitalise on a strong start, eventually finishing at three over par 75 for a two-over total of 218,
Shepherd birdied the first, but bogeyed the fifth and ninth before making the turn at one over. Further three bogeys on the back prevented the youngster from making a decisive move on a Saturday, traditionally referred to as the “Moving Day.”
The top three players on the MENA Tour Order of Merit were handed special invitations to compete in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Playing in their very first European Tour event, they all made the cut, reflecting on the strength of the new tour.