Goddard and Bishop take route 66 to lead 2018 Faldo Series Europe Grand Final

26 November 2018

(Al Ain, Abu Dhabi – November 26 2018): George Goddard and Toby Bishop took the first round lead at the 2018 Faldo Series Europe Grand Final, each carding impressive first rounds of 66 en route to opening up a two-shot lead over the international field.

Though the Englishmen and Welshmen both close the day tied at 4-under, each endured very different days. Bishop enjoyed a very solid, steady day combining five birdies with just one dropped shot. Goddard, on the other hand, had a day of mixed fortunes, going out in a scintillating 29 strokes that included an eagle on the par five 7th hole, before coming home with a back nine 37.

The Al Ain Golf Club (AESGC) layout has proven to be one of the stars of the week so far, with the course in pristine condition and providing a stern, yet fair test, for all of the age categories. The course offered several birdie chances on the front nine, but showed its teeth on the back nine, with plenty of players finding it tough going on the closing stretch.

Sir Nick Faldo, who conducted a short game clinic for the competitors after their rounds, led the plaudits for the Abu Dhabi course by saying: “We couldn’t have asked for more from our venue this week, the facilities are great, and the course is set up to perfection. I’ve been round and watched quite a bit and have seen a lot of birdies, but also a lot of challenging shots for the players. All in all, I’ve been hugely impressed with the golf and am looking forward to what the next two days will bring.”

65 of the world’s best junior golfers have assembled at AESGC in the UAE for the second ever Faldo Series Europe Grand Final in the Middle East and if the first-round scores are anything to go by, it could be a record-breaking year for scoring.

George Goddard, 21 years old, who plays his golf at West Hove Golf Club in Brighton, commented: “That’s one of the best nine holes I’ve played in a long time. I must admit I didn’t expect to be 6-under through seven holes, but the eagle on the seventh certainly helped.  I found the back nine a bit trickier and a bit nervy, to be honest.  But I thought I held it together pretty well. It’s the reason I’m here at the end of the day – to help learn what it’s like to keep it together under pressure. I’m hoping I can take this momentum into tomorrow.”

With the leaderboard packed with talent, players won’t be able to relax heading into second day’s play where they’ll look to get into position heading into the final day, when the 22nd Faldo Series Grand Final Champion will be crowned.

The event has proven to be a breeding ground for Europe’s best. Many of the Faldo Series’ former players and winners have gone on to reach the very top-level, including European Tour stars Jordan Smith and Eddie Pepperell, LET and LPGA Tour player Melissa Reid and four-time Major champion and Ryder Cup hero Rory McIlroy.  Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching thousands of golfers each year.

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