Oman golf: Azzan Al Rumhy to take part in Dubai Creek Open
September 5, 2017 | 10:29 PM
by Times News Service
A file photo of Azzan Al Rumhy

Muscat: Oman’s top amateur golfer Azzan Al Rumhy will participate in the Dubai Creek Open, a MENA Golf Tour event, scheduled to take place at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club from September 11 to 13.

According to a statement issued by the tournament organisers, the Omani star is the among the top draws in the amateur section of the popular tournament.

Saudi Arabia’s Othman Almulla, who won last year’s Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation award for being the best amateur in the region, will be hoping to keep the good work going in his division which attracted the likes of Azzan Al Rumhy of Oman and UAE’s Ahmed Al Musharrekh among other top draws.

“I have really worked hard on my game and it’s trending in the right direction. Like every player in the field, my goal is to win the tournament. It’s my home course and so, hopefully, local knowledge will come in handy,” Al Musharrekh, who turned professional in September 2012, said.

A full field of120 players, including 21 amateurs, will tee it up on Monday, promising an absorbing contest, though coping with hot and humid conditions could present its own challenges.

A full field of120 players, including 21 amateurs, will tee it up on Monday, promising an absorbing contest, though coping with hot and humid conditions could present its own challenges.

Clarke star attraction

Meanwhile, the organisers also informed Darren Clarke, the 2016 European Ryder Cup captain, has confirmed his participation in the event.

Clarke, who is also the MENA Tour patron, will join defending champion and Dubai Creek prodigy Rayhan Thomas in a strong starting line-up, blazing with the ranks for 15 winners on the tour at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club where the popular Ulsterman jointly holds the course of a 63 with Lee Westwood and Australia’s Benjamin Eccles.

It maybe be Clarke’s second appearance in a MENA Tour event after the 2015 RAK Classic where he finished in a tie for second, but his regular inputs have been instrumental in putting the tour on a trajectory for growth.

The final outcome of the Dubai Creek Open, now in its sixth year, notwithstanding, the mere presence of Clarke, who won the Open Championship in 2011, will stoke the fire of motivation in a field that includes the English duo of Zane Scotland and Lee Corfield who between them share 14 MENA Tour victories.

Potential storylines will be aplenty with English veteran Andrew Marshall, Jake Shepherd and the 2016 MENA Tour Order of Merit winner Craig Hinton also confirming their participation, but none would be more compelling than young Thomas, who last year became the first amateur to win a MENA Tour event.

Since that epoch-making victory, the 17-year-old Dubai-based Indian has rapidly risen to 50th in the world amateur rankings and should he successfully defend his title he will become the second player after Scotland to win the Dubai Creek on two occasions.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but it would be great to give myself another chance and hopefully do it. It’s my home course and it’s where I learned to golf. The game’s feeling good and I am hoping to ride on the good momentum coming into the week,” said Thomas, who is the top qualifier for Trevor Immelman’s International team ahead of the inaugural Junior President’s Cup later this month.

“With legendary Darrern Clarke in the field, I am sure every player will be charged up to give off his best. It will be great fun,” said Thomas, whose recent notable achievements include the Scottish Boys’ title and a memorable run to the semifinals of this year’s U.S. Junior Amateur in addition to making the cut at the 2017 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region. It is affiliated to R&A, the worldwide golf governing body based in the home of golf, St Andrews, and the Arab Golf Federation and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status.

A guaranteed spot on the PGA Tour’s 2018 DEAN & DELUCA Invitational (for the MENA Tour champion), multiple European Tour starts, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Maybank Championship Malaysia, and the KLM Open, are some of the added incentives that await MENA Tour members, in addition to playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour, and exemptions into the Final Stage of the Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour Q-Schools.

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