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UAE Challenge: Neergaard-Petersen, Nienaber, and Berry Share Lead on Day One at Saadiyat Beach

Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen

Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen, Wilco Nienaber, and Joshua Berry emerged as early leaders at the UAE Challenge, each carding a seven-under-par 65 on day one at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.

They hold a two-shot lead over their closest competitors as they head into the second round.

Neergaard-Petersen, who leads the Road to Mallorca Rankings, started strong with three birdies in his first four holes.

Despite a pair of bogeys, he maintained momentum with six additional birdies, crediting his success to a solid putting game.

“It was nice to see a couple of those putts drop early,” he said. He emphasized the importance of making putts on a course with challenging hole locations, stating, “If you’re going to make birdies, you have to go ahead and make putts.”

Nienaber’s bogey-free round was highlighted by an eagle on the ninth hole and five birdies in his final 11 holes.

His patience paid off, especially with a steady string of pars at the beginning of his round.

“I stayed nice and patient until the eighth hole,” said Nienaber, adding, “Seven under wasn’t expected, but I am very happy and confident with the way I’m playing.”

Berry, the youngest of the three leaders at 18 years old, had an impressive round with five birdies and two eagles, including a chip-in eagle on his final hole.

“It’s a good way to start the week,” Berry said. “The chip-in was great. I was eyeing it up when I got there, but it was lovely to see it go in.”

Trailing by two shots, Wil Besseling, Vince Van Veen, Euan Walker, and Benjamin Rusch are tied for fourth.

Félix Mory, Alexander Levy, Clément Berardo, John Axelsen, and Tapio Pulkkanen are tied for eighth place, just one shot behind the quartet in fourth.

An additional 15 players, including 17-year-old Oscar Craig, shot a 69, trailing the leaders by four shots. Craig’s stepfather, Tommy Fleetwood, is caddying for him this week.

The second round of the UAE Challenge begins at 6:30 am tomorrow, with Neergaard-Petersen teeing off at 12:30, Nienaber at 12:50, and Berry at 12:00.