Scotland’s Craig Howie had a day to remember at the UAE Challenge on day two.
The 28-year old set the new course record at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club with a bogey-free six under par 66, and he will take a two-shot lead into the weekend.
Howie’s course record was matched by countryman Liam Johnston just a few hours earlier, who also went bogey-free in blustery conditions over the Gary Player designed layout. Johnston is four shots back from Howie in a tie for sixth.
Howie has recently become the Touring Professional at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club and he is clearly feeling comfortable in the UAE.
“First and foremost I’m really pleased. It was pretty windy again this afternoon, so to go bogey free was great. Six under is better than I could’ve asked for.
“I’ve just got good control of the golf ball, that’s really it. I’m driving it really well, I’m shaping my iron shots really well, so using the wind. I just feel really comfortable. Hopefully it blows quite windy over the weekend because I’m feeling pretty good about it.
“I’ve played a lot of golf in the wind, so I feel really comfortable. It’s maybe 30 degrees too warm for me, but things feel good.”
Howie, who secured victory on the Challenge Tour in 2021 at the Range Servant Challenge by Hilton Golf, is looking to add to his back catalogue in Abu Dhabi this week. The 28-year-old is hoping to use his experience of playing in windy conditions to his advantage here at the Gulf Coast over the weekend.
“Certainly, you just have to flat out hit it good around here. You can find yourself in some terrible spots around the greens if you don’t hit good approach shots, so it’s a golf course that will reward good iron play, and thankfully right now, I’m hitting my irons really well.
“There’s a long 36 holes ahead so anything can happen, but I feel great.”
Overnight leader Ivan Cantero Gutierrez had set the pace early on at seven under par on day two, but he now sits two shots back from Howie with his fellow Spaniard Manuel Elvira on seven under par.
While a further shot back is Jeppe Kristian Andersen and Joel Moscatel Nachshon at six under par.