Joshua Grenville-Wood
Joshua Grenville-Wood finished second in this event last season Image Credit: Supplied

After shooting an impressive six under par 64 on the opening day of the Abu Dhabi Challenge, Joshua Grenville-Wood would have been hoping for more of the same today in a bid to capture a first Challenge Tour title.

Unfortunately for the UAE’s No.1 professional golfer, things didn’t quite pan out as planned in the second round at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club.

The 26-year-old came alive on the front nine yesterday, carding six birdies in seven holes, but couldn’t replicate the same sort of form this morning after making three bogeys in his opening four holes to tumble down the leaderboard.

It was a start that professionals dread, especially having been just one behind the leading pack at the start of play, and it could have quite quickly ruined the whole day had Grenville-Wood let it get to him.

But he bounced back in fine fashion, carding back-to-back birdies at the sixth and seventh, before picking up two more shots on the back nine to sign for a one under par 69 to finish the day in a share of 30th.

“It was a tough day,” said Grenville-Wood, who finished runner-up in this tournament last season.

“A very slow start, I didn’t hit it well today and was pretty poor with my irons, which led to putting myself in positions I didn’t want to be in. I just didn’t get myself up and down.

“It was pretty tough that front nine but I managed to bounce back and make a couple of birdies to only shoot one over, before a pretty clean back nine.

“Two birdies to shoot two under coming home was nice.”

Grenville-Wood finds himself seven shots adrift of leaders Nicolai Kristensen and Wilco Nienaber, with the latter shooting a sublime 10 under par 60, which set a new course record.

While six strokes might sound like a lot, a tournament is rarely a foregone conclusion at the halfway stage.

With round three, commonly referred to as moving day, taking place tomorrow, Grenville-Wood is confident he can reel in the duo at the summit of the leaderboard and put himself in serious contention come Sunday’s final round, where he seeks to become the first player representing the UAE to win a European Tour group-sanctioned event.

“100%, he told Gulf News when asked if the six-stroke deficit can be chased down.

“As Wilco showed today, you can easily shoot a good score out there. I know the golf course is going to get a bit tougher tomorrow when it dries out a bit more, but we’ll give it a go.”