Round 01 of the third edition of the Mercedes-Benz International Pro-Am got underway in near perfect conditions and there was some excellent scoring to match. The PGA of Great Britain and Ireland’s Jonathan Stacey took the early clubhouse lead and maintained it for the duration of the day.
A superb blemish-free round of 67 (-4) that consisted of two equally impressive nines cemented his place at the top of the leaderboard:
“I’m pleased – I played really nicely and the greens are amazing out there so you certainly know when you’ve holed a putt,” said Stacey. “I haven’t got a gameplan coming out here – it’s -1 degree back home so I’ve hit a few balls but other than that I’ve got a low expectations. It’s the first time I’ve played the course and it’s a really good test of golf off the back tees so I’ll see if I can keep it going.”
Starting on the 10th hole, Jonathan parred the first four holes before birdieing the par-four 14th – another birdie was to follow on the par-three 17th to reach the turn in a two-under 33. Six straight pars followed, however two birdies in the final three holes saw Jonathan post an unmatched 67 and gain the early initiative over the 28 Professional-strong field.
Just one shot behind are Andrej Kraljic (PGA of Slovenia) and Georg Schultes (PGA of Austria) who signed for matching 68s. Kraljic’s round consisted of two bogeys, three birdies and an excellent eagle on the 18th, with Georg matching the Slovenian with two bogeys and five bogeys to sit close behind the leader moving into the second round.
Two shots further adrift is the defending Champion, PGA of GB&I’s Garry Houston, who, along with Andrew Pilfold (PGA of GB&I) remain in an excellent position after both signing for 70.
In the Team Pro-Am competition it turned out to be a closely fought contest between the two teams from Rockliffe Hall, who were both battling for the clubhouse lead and early advantage heading into Round 2.
Head Professional, Jonathan Stacey, held the clubhouse lead for a considerable amount of time with his team’s superb score of 89 points (-17) that was seemingly unbeatable. However Rockliffe Hall’s Assistant Professional, Jonny Dye, and his team of Richard Roper, Tanny Sinfield and Tim Walker, went two better with a sublime team score of 91 points (-19), made up from an exceptional 13 Nett Birdies and 3 Nett Eagles to give them a slender lead at the top.
For more information on the Confederation of Professional Golf visit the Tournament Hub Page, follow @PGAsofEurope on Twitter search the Hashtag ‘#MercIntProAm’, or like the Confederation of Professional Golf Facebook Page.
To find out more about Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club visit www.aesgc.ae.