WITH a spectacular slam-dunk eagle the highlight in his card of seven-under par 65, Castle Royle’s David Langley moved into contention for a possible second title in three weeks on the MENA Tour, in Oman.
The 25-year-old from Marlow, playing in his first full season as a professional, won the Tour’s season-opening Journey to Jordan No. 1 by four shots two weeks ago.
And the former England international will go into the final round of the $75,000 Ghala Open leading by one shot at 10-under par.
Langley, who was named in the provisional Walker Cup squad for the clash with the USA at Hoylake, did a fantastic job of front-running at Ayla Golf Club.
Langley started from the 10th and after a par on his first hole, he holed out his second shot from 84 yards on the par-four 11th – the ball disappearing after pitching right in the hole.
The only bogey of his round came soon after on the 14th hole, but after hitting 16 greens in regulation, he was never in any major trouble after that and also picked up shots on all four par-fives.
“It was a pretty good day,” said Langley, whose maiden win came within weeks of losing his father.
“When you start with an eagle like that, it’s always good,” added Langley.
“I flew it straight into the hole and I feel sorry because I damaged the cup a bit.
“Made a silly error on the 14th, and missed a short birdie putt on the 17th, but apart from that, it was solid golf,” said Langley, who moved up to No. 1187 in the world rankings after his win in Jordan.
“I feel confident. I am swinging it really well. I think I have gained strokes in driving every day this season on the MENA Tour and yesterday was probably the only round when I did not gain strokes in putting.
“I played so well in the final round in Egypt, but I guess I was trying too hard over there and shot just two-under when I had a very low one in me that day.
“A tied eighth finish is pretty good, but I learned a lot from that round, and from Jordan. So, hopefully, we can get the job done tomorrow.”
But with five players just one shot behind, including the 2017 Open Championship Silver medalist Alfie Plant (68), it will make for an exciting afternoon at Ghala Golf Club on Wednesday.
Also at nine-under par were the English trio of Pavan Sagoo (67), from Middlesex, Wentworth’s Jake Ayres (68) and Lindrick’s Bailey Gill (67) plus Scotland’s Craig Ross (67).
The resurgent Sagoo, from Ealing, was unfortunate to make a double bogey with a wayward tee shot coming in on the par-four seventh hole.
Another recent champion, Sebastien Gros was also lurking dangerously after a second straight 68 which left the Frenchman alone on eighth place at eight-under par.
Meanwhile overnight leader and fellow Frenchman Antoine Schwartz (71) was three behind as he attempts to win back-to-back.
Scotland’s Sam Locke (70), the Silver Medallist as the low amateur at the 2018 Open Championship, and Yorkshire’s in-form David Hague (68) were also three behind the leader at seven-under.
India’s Arjun Gupta was the leading amateur after the second round, courtesy a splendid 67 that took him up to tied 16th place, two ahead of Russian Ivan Striganov (74).
There was also a proud moment for Saudi golf as all three players in the field – professional Othman Almulla and amateurs Saud Al Sharif and Ali Alsakha – made the cut, which fell at two-over par.
The Ghala Open champion gets an added bonus in the form of a spot in next week’s $1.75 million Oman Open on the European Tour.
•For live scoring in the Ghala Open, in Oman, click here.