Muscat: Talented Omani golfer Rashad Al Harthy is all set to make his debut at the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship (APAC) after being picked by the Oman Golf Committee (OGC) to represent the Sultanate in the tournament to be organised in Chinese Taipei from August 21
“I am honoured to represent my country. I am thankful to the OGC for choosing me for this competition. I am eager to gain some very good experience from the tournament as lot of youngsters like me, who are future Pros, will be participating in the competition. It’s my privilege to get first-hand experience at the tournament,” said an elated Rashad.
Rashad will be accompanied on the trip to Chinese Taipei by his father Salim Al Harthy.
Rashad will leave Muscat on August 19 and will reach the venue two days before the tournament to get a feel of the course.
“It would have been better if I couldhave gone there before a few days to get enough time to understand the course and the weather conditions. But I have to go to school as well and that’s why I will reach there two days before the tournament starts,” said Rashad.
But the rookie golfer has already done some research about the golf course and found it very challenging.
He said: “The course will not be familiar, it’s totally new to me and that’s the first challenge. Plus, I don’t know if it’s going to be windy or whether it’s going to be hot. My research on Google Earth show it’s going to be very challenging.”
Hamood Al Harthy, Rashad’s brother, is guiding the youngster with valuable tips as the elder one had experienced the heat of the tournament back in 2014 in Australia. Rashad is enriching himself with handy tips from his elder brother.
“I spoke to Hamood. He told me that in this competition, every shot has to be 100 percent perfect. There is no room for error. He suggested daily practice before the tournament,” said Rashad.
Rashad is a believer of ‘quality practice’ rather than giving importance to ‘quantity’. He is mostly banking on his experience in various regional and international tournaments at home and abroad.
Meanwhile, the national team of the OGC changed its base from Ghala Golf Club to Ras Al Hamra Golf Club recently, and the squad is now training under new coach William Bruce.
Rashad is excited over working with the new coach who, he feels, has brought a whole lot of changes in his game.
“I am someone who asks a lot of questions, and Bruce is not tired of answering them,” said Rashad. “He is a good coach, he supports us very well. He tells us which shots are good and criticises the bad ones, and encourages us at the end of everyday action – whether we do well or not.”
Rashad elaborated: “With the new coach, we have lengthy discussions about mindset and how not to lose focus. Also, he fixed my swing. As for my stance, my legs were not parallel to the target earlier on. I used to miss a lot of shots because of that. It has now been changed and I am playing better. I also discussed my putting with him. He says things that anyone can understand. I have improved a lot under him.”
Rashad is confident of a good show in Chinese Taipei, remarking: “I want to play my best and see where my ranking stands. I want to play better than my potential.”
OGC Chairman Mundhir Al Barwani said: "It is a great opportunity for Rashad to play in this prestigious competition.”
Ahmed Al Jhdhamy, the OGC vice-chairman, wished him all the best saying: “It is his debut in a prestigious tournament like APAC. Few golfers get a chance to participate there so he will have to maximise his chance of playing better.”