Words by BGB Editorial
COUNTY ANTRIM, NI: Aaron Rai kept his nose in front at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, posting a 67 on moving day to edge one clear heading into the business end of the championship.
“I was pleased with the round overall. The course doesn’t play easy, even in easy conditions today, and it’s always a little different going out in the final group and being co-leader going into day three.”Aaron Rai
For much of Saturday he was joined at the head of the pack by Jazz Janewattananond.
Despite firing a fine four-under par 66, the Thai star will rue a late double-bogey slip that moved him back into a share of third on six-under par, two off the lead.
After having to return to the course early to complete his second round, American Maverick Antcliff took advantage of the more favourable scoring conditions to card a 68 and will start Sunday within a shot of the lead.
Rai knows how to win wire-to-wire, having secured his only Tour title to date without being headed at the 2019 Hong Kong Open. If he repeats the feat this week, he will become the first Englishman to lead after all four rounds at the Irish Open since Sir Nick Faldo back in 1992.
“Any title on the European Tour is fantastic,” said Rai. ”The Irish Open has an illustrious history, it’s a huge event, it always has been. I want to put that out of my mind going into tomorrow. There’s still a lot of significance to it.
“I was pleased with the round overall. The course doesn’t play easy, even in easy conditions today, and it’s always a little different going out in the final group and being co-leader going into day three.
“It was nice to be able to play with that and to play relatively freely and play solid today.”
Jazz was joined in third spot by South African Dean Burmester (68) and Swede Oscar Lengden (66).