Teenage amateur Rayhan Thomas equals world record for birdies

A 17-year-old amateur upstaged former Open champion Darren Clarke as he equalled a world record with NINE consecutive birdies at the Dubai Creek Open.

MENA Tour prodigy Rayhan Thomas, who is the defending champion on his home course, defied the pressure of playing alongside Clarke as he put on an incredible display during his second-round 61.

The young Indian started his run as early as the second hole, and his four at the par-five 10th matched the previous best in an Official World Golf Ranking event set by Mark Calcavecchia at the RBC Canadian Open in 2009.

Bernd Wiesberger also made nine birdies in a row at the Maybank Championship earlier this year, but his achievement did not go down in the record books as preferred lies were in play.

Thomas’ astonishing birdie streak ended with a par at the 11th, and he picked up one further shot at the 13th before parring in to remain just two shots behind leader MG Keyser.

“Rayhan is a huge talent, obviously,” said 2011 Open champion Clarke, who added a 69 to his opening 68 to lie eight shots off the pace. “He played beautifully, hit the ball very close and putted nicely. The way he was playing, this is the worse he could have shot. He was very calm and composed and read the greens very well, which I couldn’t!

“Rayhan’s game is trending in the right direction and I think he has a great future of ahead of him. I wish him the very best,” said the Northern Irishman.

Thomas added: “I don’t think it was my best round ever, probably one of the best. I just wanted to avoid silly mistakes and make as many birdies as I could.

“My target was to shoot six or seven under, but when I started holing putts, I knew it was going to be my day. I am really happy with 10-under. I think I played very smart golf out there.

“It’s good to get a good round under my belt and get my rhythm going. It shows I have what it takes to go low. Hopefully, it’s going to be a good memory to fall back on.”