It was a bittersweet week for Rayhan Thomas as he ended his Omega Dubai Desert Classic debut with a final-round 74 that tied him for the 60th place at three-over par.
The 17-year-old Dubai-based schoolboy said he was delighted with how the four days went at Majlis course, but admitted he could have done better.
“Great week. Obviously, making the cut was nice but played some really good golf and was good to see I was around there in the mix,” said Thomas, who made it to the tournament after winning the MENA Golf Tour Amateur Order of Merit.
“I made 18 birdies in the tournament, which is good. But I also made a lot of mistakes. I could have definitely done better if I was slightly better in handling my mistakes.”
On Sunday, he got off to a poor start with two bogeys in his first four holes, but fought back to one-under par at the turn, having started from the 10th tee. On the front nine of the golf course, which was playing decidedly tougher, he made three bogeys.
“The final round was good. I started off a bit rough with two over after four, but then made three birdies on the way and was one-under,” he added.
“But my putting went cold over the back nine to finish two-over for the day. Otherwise, was pretty happy with it. Played pretty good but didn’t putt great.”
Asked about the lessons he learnt from a week like this, Thomas added: “I learnt just how to manage the golf course. These guys are obviously great players and I played with some really good players this week. So, learnt a lot – course management, how to deal with it, the routine, how to deal with external pressures.
“Obviously, you got to go here and there, talk to the media, sign autographs, which is new. I was just dealing with all that and I enjoyed it a lot. Being the centre of attention is always nice.”
Thomas played the final round in the company of last year’s winner and reigning Masters champion, Danny Willett, and enjoyed his time with the Englishman.
“It was great. He is a great guy and he really played well. I mean, he didn’t play great but he was still able to shoot two-under, which was something good to watch and learn,” said Thomas.
“I learnt a few things about the way he played the course. And he’s a great guy to play with.”