European Tour

Harding, Coetzee share lead in Qatar

2019-03-08 20:39
Justin harding
Justin Harding (Getty Images)

Cape Town - South Africans George Coetzee and Justin Harding and France's Mike Lorenzo-Vera share the halfway lead at the Qatar Masters as they each fired four-under par rounds of 68 at Doha Golf Club.

The trio started their days one shot behind overnight leaders Adri Arnaus and Justin Walters, but took advantage of calmer conditions in Qatar after high winds on Thursday.

Lorenzo-Vera, out in the first group this morning, birdied the tenth hole, his first, and then made another gain before the turn. A bogey on the first hole was followed by two birdies on the third and fourth holes, before he recorded his fifth birdie of the day on the eighth hole to set the target of eight under par.

Harding, who finished third on the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2018, made the turn level par but then carded three consecutive birdies from the tenth to 12th holes and rolled in his fifth birdie of the day on the 17th hole to reach eight under.

"I'm very happy. It was a tough day, starting out. It was tricky with the wind but it laid down a little bit towards the back. I had some good shots, could have made a couple more putts here and there. I was happy to put myself in position come the weekend," said Harding.

"I made a good one on 11 and 12, and gave myself a good look on 13 as well. When you’re cross-grain and pin high, it's sometimes a bit awkward judging your speed. I missed one there and on 16, which was naughty. I was happy to make five on 18. It was a good day, I can't really moan."

His compatriot Coetzee rounded out the top three after his bogey free effort in the afternoon.

"It was a strange day. I thought we'd be in for a long day on the front nine with the wind. It was really pleasant coming in playing the golf course, I think the scores show that too," said Coetzee.

"I was quite happy to go bogey free, I don't think I've done that for a while. I said to my caddie at the end it was nice to go bogey free and he said 'that's why you're putting for par on the last hole, because you’re thinking about it'. I'm hoping to play a bit more like this tomorrow and my score should be good enough."

Arnaus, Masahiro Kawamura, Oliver Wilson and Erik van Rooyen share fourth place on seven under par. Eight golfers share eighth place one stroke further back, including Australia's Deyen Lawson, who made his second hole-in-one of the season on the par three 17th hole - his first of the year came at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December, also with an eight iron.


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