Saleh Al Kaabi vowed to improve after carding a four-over-par 76 on Thursday for his second-best score.
Making his fifth straight appearance in the European Tour event, Qatar’s top amateur bogeyed one, four, six and seven before steadying the ship with six straight pars.
Al Kaabi, 22, birdied 14 but was unfortunate to lose his ball off the tee at the par-five 16th, leading to a bogey. His best score in four previous appearances at the European Tour event was a second-round 70 in 2014.
“I could have done better as I missed three short par putts on the front nine and had bad luck on 16 when I lost my ball. I was a bit disappointed to miss the small putts. On 16, my tee-shot hit the top of the rocks and nobody nearby could see it. I went back to the tee, hit the green with my second shot, then had two putts so did quite well to only make a bogey there,” said Al Kaabi, who has a one-year-old son.
“My score should be better. Tomorrow’s another day. For sure, if I keep hitting the ball like I am, I know I can shoot a better score. I can make a really low score tomorrow.”
Al Kaabi entered the tournament high on confidence after shooting a closing 67 to finish runner-up at this month’s Qatar Open Amateur at Doha Golf Club, having finished third at November’s King Hamad Trophy in Bahrain and won December’s SGF Open amateur tournament in Saudi Arabia.
Al Kaabi is one of two Qatari amateurs in the field along with 29-year-old debutant Abdulrahman Al Shahrani.
Al Kaabi tees off on hole 10 at 10.50am on Friday, while Al Shahrani starts at 8.30am, also on hole 10. Friday’s second-round action starts at 6.30am, with the last groups teeing off at 12.20pm.