England’s Callum Shinkwin claimed a two-shot lead in the Ras Al Khaimah Championship after threatening to record just the second sub-60 round in DP World Tour history.
Shinkwin covered his first 14 holes at Al Hamra Golf Club in 10 under par, meaning he needed to play the remaining four in three under to match Oliver Fisher’s 59 in the 2018 Portugal Masters.
However, the 30-year-old – whose run of eight successive birdies from the 16th to the fifth was just one short of the world record shared by James Nitties and former Open champion Mark Calcavecchia, could only par the sixth before dropping a shot on the next.
Shinkwin bounced back to two-putt from 70 feet for birdie on the par-five eighth and parred the ninth to complete a superb 62, equalling the lowest round of his career.
At 10 under par he enjoyed a two-shot lead over compatriot Richard Mansell and South Africa’s Brandon Stone, who missed a putt for a 59 in the final round of his Scottish Open victory in 2018.
“I just kept going, making birdie after birdie and didn’t think about 59, to be fair,” Shinkwin said.
“It’s not easy to get a 59 on a par 72 but I was a bit gutted about seven. It’s quite an easy tee shot with no wind, but (with) a little bit of wind I just had to fiddle one in there.”
8⃣ birdies in a row!
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) January 25, 2024
Shinkwin’s 62 equalled his lowest round on Tour at the 2016 Shenzhen International and he added: “That’s a long time ago, that was eight years ago.
“That was on my mind, I wanted to beat that by one because when you have a record you want to keep beating them. But eight years down the line, I’ve shot 62 again, I’m happy.”
Mansell also had an outside chance to shoot 59 when he followed a back nine of 29 – which included three birdies and two eagles – with birdies on the third, fifth and seventh, only to double bogey the par-five eighth after hitting his drive into a bush.
“Obviously you get to a downwind par five, you’re 10 under par with two to play and you do that, it’s frustrating,” Mansell said. “But overall a good start.
“I played brilliant today. I had one bad hole. The stuff I’m working on, I’m going to choose to focus on the good stuff because there was a lot of that today.
“The areas of my game that I’ve worked really hard at the past couple of months are starting to show for me.”
Defending champion Daniel Gavins covered his first 11 holes in eight over par before birdies on the 14th and 18th saw him sign for an opening 78.