Muscat’s Almouj Golf Course to host third Xerox Golf Qualifier

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The third qualifier of the 18th Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge kicks off this weekend.

More than 80 teams are already registered via www.xeroxcgc.com, and the organisers are now building a waiting list of interested golfers with a registered handicap, who will be accommodated based on cancellations.

Located on The Wave, Muscat, Almouj Golf Course provides a challenging 18-holes of varying lengths and configurations. Designed by Greg Norman, course highlights include a daunting Par 3 island green and a challenging Par 5 that stretches over 600 yards.

Andrew Horne, General Manager, Xerox Emirates, said: “We are very happy that the Almouj Golf Course is once again hosting the Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge. Interest around playing this course is evident from the fact that all slots were taken up before we officially announced registrations. We wish all our Muscat golfers the very best, and look forward to an interesting day’s play.”

New on-course competitions this year include the King of Pars, sponsored by deVere Acuma, for the teams that perform best on Pars 3, 4 and 5.

This will be particularly relevant as the Almouj golf course offers challenging Par 3 and Par 5’s. Best-scoring teams on various hole types win prizes as well as entry into the ‘Golden Ticket’ draw, which will bring wild-card entries into the 2016 Grand Finals.

This years’ Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge is supported by the Emirate of Ajman, as host city and destination partners including the Ajman Palace, Ajman Kempinski, and Ajman Saray.

Fairmont Ajman hotels and Ajman’s Al Zorah Golf Club are venue sponsors for the 2016 Grand Finals. Other main sponsors of the tournament include deVere Acuma, Chrysler, and Select Property.

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European Challenge Tour returns to Egypt

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Picturesque: Sokhna Golf Club.

Egypt is gearing up to host some of the best golfers on the European Challenge Tour when the Red Sea Egyptian Challenge Presented by Hassan Allam Properties begins in the country from on Wednesday.

It will be the first professional tournament in Egypt as the Challenge Tour returned for the first time since 2010 – the year when Rory McIlroy made a much-publicised appearance.

The second tournament in the 2016 schedule of the European Challenge Tour will be held at the Sokhna Golf Club in Ain Sokhna, a beautiful town on the western shore of the Red Sea’s Gulf of Suez.

It is situated 55km south of Suez and approximately 120 km east of Cairo. The Red Sea Egyptian Challenge will be the professional debut of decorated French amateur, Romain Langasque, who produced a wonderful performance at the Masters earlier this month.

The 20-year-old caught the eye in the final round when he made five birdies during a remarkable back nine as he closed with a fourunder par 68 in his last event as an amateur. That wasn’t enough to win him the prize for the leading amateur, but it was one of the best rounds of the day.

Langasque has already made his debut on the Challenge Tour, finishing second in the season-opening Barclays Kenya Open, where he played as an amateur.

The Frenchman received a Masters invite after winning the Amateur Championship at Carnoustie.

The Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA), who are supporting the tournament, feel it will help promote Egypt as a golfing destination.

Ahmed Ali Ismail, Tourism Counsellor in the Egyptian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, said: “It will be shown on many TV channels across the world. If after watching the event, golfers are inspired to book a trip to Egypt for a round or two, there are plenty of options in order to combine the sport with a holiday.”

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Buamain expects greater regional support for MENA Tour

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Good for the region: Mohamed Juma Buamaim with Ahmed Marjane, the first Tour winner from MENA countries.

Now that the International Federation of the PGA Tours and the World Golf Ranking governing board has recognised the MENA Golf Tour, founder Mohamed Juma Buamaim has urged the regional federations and tournaments to show similar support to the fledgling Tour.

Earlier this week, the MENA Tour became only the 19th Tour in the world which became eligible to receive world ranking points. That was a cherished dream of Buamaim from the day he announced the formation of the Tour, which has grown from four events in 2011 to 19 this season.

“This is what we aimed for from the first day. It took longer than I anticipated and we really had to work hard to achieve this. But we have got it now and that is the main thing,” said Buamaim.

“This is fantastic for the MENA region, especially with golf making a re-entry into the Olympic Games starting this year. The world ranking provides the pathway for our Arab players to get into the Olympics.

“Now is the turn of the golf federations in the Arab world, and for the various tournaments in the region, to support the MENA Tour.”

Buamaim said there is a ‘comfort factor’ for the players from the region on the MENA Tour, which they do not get anywhere else.

“Many of our Moroccan players play on the EuroPro Tour and in Germany. It makes better financial sense for them to go across to Europe and play. But I have spoken to most of them and they have all said they’d prefer playing on the MENA Golf Tour,” said Buamaim.

“That is because of the comfort factor they have on our Tour. The players from the region are much more comfortable playing here.

“I know most events have been won by foreign players. But almost every foreign champion makes it a point to share his experiences and reaches out to the Arab players. They are very helpful to each other.

“Four years ago, most Moroccan players would finish their rounds and huddle in their own groups. Now, they have learned to converse in English and love to spend time with other players. To me, this is development too. Of course, their game has also become better.”

Buamaim said the ball is now in the court of the federations and also urged the European Tour to give spots to MENA Tour.

“I am not making anything out of this Tour. I am putting in money that we have worked very hard to earn. We do need support from sponsors, but more importantly, from Arab federations and from the European Tour, which has so many events in the region,” he added.

“I am not expecting much. Even if the federations put up the prize money for events in their own countries and urge their players to play our events, I am happy. But they have to realise that MENA Tour is our best way to get into the Olympics.

“And I’d like the European Tour to offer us a few spots in the tournaments they have here.

“For Desert Classic, we have it in the contract that we will have five players from MENA Tour. Why can’t they do something similar with other events? After all, they are respectful to other Tours when they go to other regions and offer them spots. The Chinese Golf Association and the Indian PGA Tour all get spots when the bigger Tours are playing in their area. Why not extend the same courtesy to us?”

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