Kiwi takes the lead in Qatar


One hopes this is not a harbinger of Saturday night’s World Cup final in Paris, but New Zealand golfer Daniel Hillier took the lead in Qatar on Saturday morning (South African time) after the second round of the European series and DP World Tour’s Qatar Masters tournament played at the Doha Country Club.

After the second round, Hillier is on 130 strokes (-14), two strokes ahead of his nearest opponent, Robert MacIntyre (Scotland, 132, -12), with Ewen Ferguson (Scotland) and Santiago Tarrio (Spain) joint third on 133 (-11 ).

They are followed by South Africa’s Thomas Aiken and the Finn Sami Valimaki (both 134, -10), with South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence joint ninth on 135 (-9).

Of the other South Africans who completed their rounds, Hennie du Plessis, Jayden Schaper and Zander Lombard are all three on 140 (-4) shots, with Darren Fichardt on 143, Louis de Jager on 144, Ockie Strydom, Bryce Easton and Justin Walters (146) and Wilco Nienaber (148).

* In the American LPGA Series’ Maybank Championship being played in Kuala Lumpur, America’s Rose Zhang is one stroke ahead of Atthaya Thitikul and Thidapa Suwannapura (both of Thailand) at 198 (-18) after the third round.

Zhang completed Saturday morning’s third round in 65 strokes, with Thitikul (62 strokes) edging ahead.

Sei-Young Kim of South Korea (201, 15) is third.

South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai scored 212 (-4) and is in 46th position.

* In the local Sonskyn Series’ Sunbet Challenge Tournament played at the Umhlali Country Club on the Kwazulu-Natal North Coast, Martin Rohwer clinched his third title in the series against all expectations when he beat Christiaan Burke in a play-off.

Rohwer teed off in Friday’s third and final round with a deficit of eight shots, but the wind was his greatest ally while it gave gray hair to most of the other players who teed off after him.

Rohwer, who teed off early because he was far behind, shot 65 in the third round to finish tied with Burke (72) at 208 (-5).

According to Rohwer, he had just finished his round when a south-westerly wind hit him hard.

Rohwer, who plays from the Kloof country club outside Durban, only clinched the playoff on the fourth attempt on the short 18th hole when Burke missed.

Jonathan Broomhead, who was the overnight leader, dropped back in the final round and shot 76. He finished eighth on 211 strokes.

Luke Brown (67) and Luke Jerling (71) both finished joint third on 209 strokes with Connor Mackenzie, Martin Vorster and Christiaan Basson joint fifth on 210 (-3).