Gaskins and Higgs produce flawless round to take sole lead in Men’s Pairs event
Day two of the Matchplay Championship is typically known as “moving day”. Ryan Gaskins and his partner Joe Higgs did exactly that after scoring an incredible 47 points at The Els Club in the better-ball stableford format, as they moved from 4th place into sole possession of the lead in the Men’s Pairs event by 4 shots from Chris Scott-Douglas and yesterday’s hole-in-one hero, Mike Ankers of Sutton Coldfield. With temperatures soaring in Dubai’s Sports City, Gaskins who plays off 13 and Higgs who plays off 11, managed five birdies between them on the championship course as they produced the Grand Final’s best score since the tournament moved to The Els Club and Dubai in 2011.
“We played great and it was just one of those days when everything came together. We had a bit of luck out there today of course, but on the whole we’ve dovetailed really well over the two rounds,” noted Gloucestershire-native Gaskins. “There may be a few nerves tomorrow but we’ll relax later back at the hotel and just enjoy it. We’re out here for seven days and playing four rounds of golf on a stunning course, so we already feel like winners. It would be nice to win though!”
In the new Men’s Singles event Paul Llewllyn has stretched his lead by two shots following a second round effort of 36 points and is now seven strokes clear of his nearest rival, Peter Jones. Llewllyn’s round was highlighted by a birdie on the 522 yard par-5 fifth hole, as the 13-handicap golfer bounced back from an opening double-bogey at the first.
The Mixed Pairs event also witnessed some good scoring, as Paul and Deirdre O’Brien from Cork followed up a disappointing 33 points on Monday with 42 points, to take a one-shot lead heading into the final round tomorrow. The husband and wife pairing lead by one from yesterday’s joint leaders Peter and Cathy Clement, thanks to three birdies from 7-handicapper Paul.
The tournament, which is backed by Marriott, flies players from all over the UK & Ireland to the UAE to enjoy accommodation at Courtyard by Marriott Dubai Green Community for a week of luxurious hospitality and competitive golf. “It’s been a fantastic couple of days here in Dubai and we’re looking forward to tomorrow when we will crown our new winners,” noted John Woosey, Managing Director of The JRW Group, which organises the event. “This is the ultimate amateur golf experience, highlighted by a Grand Final held at one of the world’s most spectacular venues. The players are all having a fantastic time and for many it’s the first time they’ve been out to the Middle East.”
The final round begins at 8.30am tomorrow as players take to the course to be filmed for Sky Sports TV. The players will then bask in Dubai’s renowned hospitality for three days before heading back to the UK & Ireland. First launched in 2003, the tournament has grown to become the biggest amateur event in the UK & Ireland. For further details on the Matchplay Championship or to enter the 2012/13 championship, visit www.matchplaychampionship.co.uk. For up to date tournament news live from the event follow us on Twitter @MatchplayUK and Facebook www.facebook.com/match10.